Have you ever bitten into a certain food and suffered from sharp, uncomfortable pain? Often, the pain quickly disappears and doesn’t occur every time you eat but is triggered if you bite on a certain area. To prevent the pain, you may deliberately favour the other side of the mouth or avoid certain foods. This may be an indication that you have a fractured tooth.
If you are someone who suffers this discomfort, the pain you feel is because you stimulate the crack when you bite. The pressure of biting can cause the crack to open which may be painful itself. This opening and closing of the crack irritates the nerve inside the tooth. It also provides an opening from the outside of the tooth towards the nerve, causing sensitivity to temperatures, especially cold.
Numerous activities may cause a tooth to crack:
Clenching and grinding the teeth
Chewing hard objects such as pens, fingernails or sewing needles
Chewing hard foods such as nuts, ice or hard lollies
An accident such as a hit to the face or mouth
Continued exposure of the teeth to extreme temperatures such as eating very hot food then drinking ice water
What can I do for my fractured tooth?
Treatment may vary from limiting bad habits to wearing a protective clenching and grinding night guard. Smaller cracks can be covered with fillings or crowns so that the crack cannot be stimulated to cause pain and cannot propagate any further. If a crack is very large and deep it may reach the nerve of the tooth and cause very intense pain. In this case, a more invasive root canal procedure may be required.