Cracked Tooth Syndrome
Cracked Tooth Treatment in Greenville, SC
Cracked tooth syndrome is something we see quite often in the office. A lot of my patients are like me, they have big fillings, they’ve spent a lot of time on the receiving end of the dentist. And when you have a filling in the tooth, the surrounding tooth is weaker. And over time, things we chew, harder things, chewier things, gradually you can develop a crack in the tooth close to the filling. And typically with cracked tooth syndrome, people present with a variety of symptoms, usually it’s a combination of sensitivity and temperature, a lot of times cold, sometimes hot and cold, and sometimes biting pressure; sometimes all of them. And what’s happening when you get those temperature changes on the tooth, or when you bite on a certain part of the tooth, it actually moves the little crack a little bit and that’s what stimulates the nerve down the tooth. Most of the time a crown is what fixes the symptoms of a cracked tooth. If a patient comes in and they have biting pressure, hot and cold sensitivity, but it’s not lingering pain and it’s not spontaneous pain, the majority of the time a crown solves that problem, because essentially you’re encasing that tooth so the crack doesn’t move anymore. Sometimes you remove the crack completely, sometimes you can’t, but the goal is to bind it together. Anyone who comes in with a crack in a tooth and they’re having lingering pain, boy I get something over there and it’s aching for 10, 15, 20 minutes, or it wakes me up at night, spontaneous pain, that is typically beyond a crown, we’re typically talking a root canal first because they nerve has been damaged.
Cracked tooth syndrome is a partial fracture or break in a tooth that extends to the dentine and sometimes the pulp. The fracture may be located in the center of the tooth or near the periphery. The partially cracked tooth often hurts so badly because the dentine is exposed, and movement or temperature extremes cause the fluids in the tubules to exert pressure on the nerve.
Most patients feel pain while chewing and when consuming hot or cold foods and drinks. The pain usually comes and goes. A cracked tooth must be treated immediately to end pain and discomfort and prevent serious complications. You may even lose the tooth if the fracture is severe. See your Greenville, SC dentist right away if you experience persistent, intermittent toothache.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Dr. Brown will examine the tooth thoroughly and confirm the damage with X-rays. Treatment depends on the severity of the fracture and the location of the tooth. Tiny fractures may be corrected with a bonded white tooth filling. If the tooth is already filled, your dentist will replace the old filling with a new one.
An orthodontic band may also be used to keep the tooth from falling apart. After pain subsides, the band is replaced with a filling.
If the dental pulp is severely infected or the nerve is already dead, Dr. Brown may recommend a root canal. Your dentist will make a hole in the tooth, remove the infected pulp, clean the area (including the root canals) and restore the tooth with a crown. For very deep fractures or cracks that extend below the gums, tooth extraction and replacement with a bridge, denture or implant are recommended.