In today’s blog, general dentist in Duncan, OK, Dr. Matthew Bridges, explains cracked tooth syndrome, why it causes toothaches, and how he treats this condition to get patients out of pain quickly.
Patients who attend regular dental visits twice a year are less likely to experience toothaches from issues like cavities and gum disease. However, cracked tooth syndrome can occur at any time, to anyone–and it can really hurt! Over 200,000 cracked teeth are reported annually in the United States, and we see quite a few in our office.
As a Duncan dentist, Dr. Bridges helps children and adults achieve and maintain great oral health. Supported by a caring team of experts, Dr. Bridges invites you to experience gentle family dental care so you and your loved ones can enjoy excellent oral health for life!
What is cracked tooth syndrome?
Cracked tooth syndrome, or CTS, involves a fracture that does not extend fully across a tooth. The fracture may affect enamel, the sensitive dentin beneath, and in some cases, the pulp within a tooth’s innermost chamber.
With a cracked tooth, pain occurs when chewing foods, particularly small, hard foods like seeds. In addition, temperature changes, namely cold, can increase pain in the affected tooth. Sweet foods may also cause pain in a cracked tooth. Patients who previously endured a cracked tooth may immediately notice the symptoms. For those who have no previous experience with a cracked tooth, symptoms may mimic other conditions.
CTS may present with symptoms that may feel like:
- Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
- Ear pain
- Atypical orofacial pain
Your general dentist says this is IMPORTANT! If a cracked tooth isn’t identified and treated promptly, it can grow to cause complete fracture and destroy the tooth.
What causes a cracked tooth?
Oftentimes, a previously treated tooth (fracture or decay) develops a crack. Also, people who chew on non-food items like ice, pen caps, fingernails, etc., are more likely to develop CTS than those who do not have this destructive habit.
A tooth may develop a crack or cracks from habitual teeth grinding, called bruxism. Additionally, patients with one cracked tooth, statistically, are likely to develop other cracked teeth.
How does a general dentist diagnose a cracked tooth?
Diagnosis of a cracked tooth can be quite difficult. In fact, some dentists miss a cracked tooth during dental inspection, especially when a patient has no CTS symptoms.
Dr. Bridges may use any of these evaluations to identify CTS:
- Bite test
- Periodontal probing
- Scrape exam
- Percussion test
- Dye test
How does Dr. Bridges treat a cracked tooth?
In most cases, if the pulp within a tooth is not affected by the crack and the crack does not extend to the tooth’s roots, application of a dental crown will restore the tooth’s structural integrity. If multiple teeth are affected by cracks and TMJ disorder or bruxism (or both) is to blame, Dr. Bridges will recommend treating the underlying cause, restoring all affected teeth, and ending the problem once and for good.
What if my tooth can’t be saved?
When a tooth crack extends to the pulp of a tooth or down a root, the tooth may require root canal therapy or extraction and replacement. Rest assured, your CTS can be treated. Dr. Bridges, your general dentist, will get you out of pain first, then through thorough examination he’ll determine the best treatment plan to restore comfortable oral function and lasting, good oral health.
The General Dentist Your Family Can Trust
If you or a loved one have a toothache, or you don’t have a general dentist in Duncan, OK, call on Dr. Bridges of Chisholm Trail Smile Center today. We’re accepting new patients and gladly see children, teens, adults, and senior citizens. We also care for special needs patients with gentleness and respect. Call us at 580.255.4880 to schedule your appointment or alert us to your need for emergency dental care.