Sharp Pain When You Chew? Cracked Tooth Alert

cracked toothDO YOU EVER HAVE SHARP PAIN when you bite down? Maybe the pain immediately goes away when you stop chewing. Today Comfort Dental would like to spend some time talking about what might be causing this unpleasant sharp dental pain…Cracked Tooth Syndrome.

Let’s start with the FACT: Teeth have cracks – it’s the “Craze Lines” you don’t have to be concerned with. More troublesome cracks provide our main focus here.

Some teeth have cracks that do cause pain. Just to make things more challenging, sometimes these cracks are too small to show up on X-rays and can sometimes be under the gum. If the crack is visible, it is usually seen as a vertical hairline crack. These small, painful cracks are known as “cracked tooth syndrome.”

The Cracks You Can See Looking in the Mirror
Don’t be confused – Most adults have craze lines and they cause little concern because they only affect the outer enamel of the tooth and are painless.

cracked toothPAIN CAN BE UNPREDICTIBLE
Many people with cracked tooth syndrome have symptoms for months. Cracked tooth syndrome can also be a challenge to diagnose because the pain is not always predictable. It is most common in lower back teeth (molars) because these teeth absorb most of the forces of chewing.

COMMON SYMPTOMS

  • The tooth may hurt when you bite or chew, with mild or intense sensitivity. The pain does not usually linger, but disappears quickly when chewing stops. Don’t expect a constant ache, as you would if you had a cavity or abscess.
  • The tooth may be sweet and temperature sensitivity; this sensitivity is caused when the crack is wide enough to allow sweets and temperature to reach under your enamel.
  • You may find yourself chewing food on the opposite side of your mouth or avoiding certain foods on the affected side.

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WHAT CAN CAUSE THE TOOTH TO BECOME CRACKED?

  • Bruxism – The chronic grinding of your teeth while sleeping.
  • Bad Habits – Such as chewing on ice, pens, pencils, hard candys, etc.
  • Trauma – A blow to the mouth or an accident.
  • Tooth Misalignment – Some teeth to receive more stress during chewing.
  • Past Fillings – Teeth with large fillings may be more likely to crack.

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mouth guard for jaw pain, tmj pain, cracked toothPREVENTING PAINFUL CRACKS
If you grind or clench your teeth, let us know. Grinding, or bruxism, can definitely increase your risk of cracked tooth syndrome.

Comfort Dental can make you a night guard, also called a bite splint, to alleviate the potential tooth damage from grinding your teeth. This will relieve the pain from grinding. For some people it can stop tooth sensitivity. The night guard can be worn during sleep. It also can be worn at other times, if clenching or grinding happens during waking hours as well.

COMFORT DENTAL CAN HELP
If you experience symptoms of Cracked Tooth Syndrome, Dr. Randall Brucken and Dr. Lawrence Stubbs will examine your mouth and teeth, focusing on the tooth in question. We may use an instrument called an explorer to feel for cracks in the tooth, as well as see if the crack shows up on an X-ray.

Treatment depends on the size of the crack and the ability to remove the problem causing the crack. 

  • Minor cracks may be treated with a desensitizing agent, but without eliminating the cause, the crack can recur and worsen.
  • The placement of a crown will typically keep the crack from opening and will alleviate the pain.

We hope this information was helpful, and please let us know if you have additional questions. Comfort Dental is here in Lafayette to provide extraordinary dental care in an inspiring atmosphere – with a caring staff!

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