A crack in tooth is a split in the enamel, which sometimes runs to the dentin or pulp. In general, the tooth remains immobile and solid, as well as resistant to loosening. Tooth enamel is one of the most stable elements in the human body. However, constant and excessive loads can lead to a crack appearing in the tooth. In case of such a problem, it is necessary to consult a doctor as soon as possible to diagnose it and take good care of the oral cavity.
In some cases, teeth are affected by microcracks, which can be detected only by a specialist. Deep splits can be seen during visual examination, especially if they were stained by products containing food dyes or by cigarette chemicals. Having a small crack, the patient does not feel anything unpleasant and may even be unaware of the problem. Nevertheless, the mechanical impact on the affected element of the jaw will eventually increase it in size and depth.
- Temperature splits (alternation of cold and hot);
- Frequent consumption of harmful products (citrus juices, sugar, carbonated water);
- Cracking nuts, seeds and other solid food with the teeth;
- Bad habits, such as biting nails or different objects (pencils, pens etc.);
- Bad oral hygiene, frequent use of abrasive toothpastes;
- Acid-base imbalance in the oral cavity;
- Long-term treatment with medications;
- Mechanical damage, like bruises, falls and other injuries.
Sometimes medical treatment can also be a risk factor. A crack in tooth after filling may be vertical or horizontal. In some cases, restorative material can be damaged.
The main symptoms of a cracked tooth or enamel are the following: A cracked incisor or a fang will be quite noticeable during visual examination (provided that it is not an inner defect). In most cases, sensitivity increases with temperature changes. If the pulp or dentine tissues are affected, the patient may feel pain that is not precisely located. It becomes acute during hygienic procedures, while chewing food or closing the mouth. If the patient does not visit the doctor for a long time, it may cause definite problems, such as swelling gums, an unpleasant smell and taste in the oral cavity, appearance of gingival pockets, darkening of the enamel layer. With big cracks food residues reach the tissues and stay there, breaking damage to the protective layer and developing bacterial flora, which leads to inflammation.
Once the problem has appeared, highly qualified dentist must be visited immediately. Meanwhile, the patient should avoid intense mechanical effects on the affected tooth before consulting a doctor. To choose the right therapy, the dentist examines the oral cavity with special instruments and X rays. If the crack is difficult to be diagnosed, a dentist-endodontist can be consulted with. The treatment depends on the causes, specifications, location, size and depth of damage. The measures taken can be the following:
- Remineralization. It involves restoring the integrity of the enamel structure. The doctor uses a special gel-like agent containing calcium, fluorine and phosphorus, which is applied to the affected element of the jaw. After that, the crack is filled with a composite material that solidifies under the light of the polymerization lamp. The effect lasts 6 months, and then the patient should have it done again. This method is highly effective when it comes to minor defects.
- Using veneers. Veneers are thin ceramic plates, bonded to the tooth to conceal cracks and prevent their further enlargement. Veneers correct the aesthetics of a smile, protect from mechanical impact and disease-producing germs.
- Crowning. If the dental cusp is cracked and pulp tissue is not damaged, it is necessary to extract the tooth and then restore it with a crown. If the pulp is damaged, its removal and root canal filling are the first steps to be taken.
- Extraction. If the tooth is fractured and there is dentin and pulp lesion, as well as inflammation of the gingival tissues, it must be pulled out.
Sometimes patients suffer from the cracked tooth under crown. They feel pain under the dental cap (usually, after a mechanical damage) or notice it getting loose. The dentist removes the crown and carefully examines the tooth. If the roots are not damaged, there is no inflammation and rotting, the doctor restores it with a dental inlay. If the root rots and decays, or is completely broken, it is pulled out.