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Detecting and Treating a Cracked Tooth

How do you know if you have a cracked tooth? Well, the truth is, most of the time you don’t, unless you have x-ray vision. Hairline cracks in teeth can go unnoticed for some time. Here’s how to know if your tooth is cracked and what to do.

What Causes a Tooth to Crack?

Chewing on hard foods, such as candies, or even crunching on ice, can fracture a tooth. Stress-induced teeth grinding and jaw clenching can crack teeth as well. Less frequently, an accident or a blow to the jaw can also lead to a cracked tooth. In those cases, it’s usually a front tooth that’s affected. Additionally, just general wear and tear can cause a tooth to crack.

What Are the Signs That Your Tooth is Cracked?

It can be difficult to self diagnose because a hairline tooth fracture or crack can be so tiny, you will not be able to see it. Sometimes your dentist won’t even be able to diagnose it, even with an x-ray. However, there are some signs you can feel. If you experience pain when you bite into food or if your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, you may have a cracked tooth.

What Steps Should You Take

If you suspect you have a cracked tooth, make an appointment with your dental professional. Let the office know which tooth you suspect is cracked and if you have any symptoms. If it’s a front tooth, they may get want to get you in right away. If you are experiencing symptoms – pain with chewing or sensitivity to hot and cold, the sooner you get to your dentist, the better.

If you do indeed have a cracked tooth, these treatments may be needed. These include bonding, a crown, or even a root canal prior to restoring the tooth. Your dentist will determine which one is best for you. The location and severity of the crack will be a factor in that decision.

It can be difficult to know if you have a cracked tooth. Many times they go undetected until you experience pain or are sensitive to hot and cold. A cracked tooth may even go unnoticed until a routine dental appointment (another good reason to stay on schedule). If you have one, it is treatable, but the sooner you have it taken care of, the better.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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