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Intermittent Tooth Pain May Be A Sign Of Cracked Tooth Syndrome

Health & Medical Blog

Not all dental trauma is obvious. A seemingly perfectly healthy tooth can cause problems, the source of which may be difficult to detect. Case in point, one condition called cracked tooth syndrome can cause symptoms associated with tooth damage but doesn't readily lend itself to being diagnosed. Here's more information about this problem and what can be done to treat it.

Tiny Cracks, Big Problems

Cracked tooth syndrome is just as it sounds. Tiny cracks develop in or on the surface of the tooth. However, these cracks are so small or located in odd places that they can't be seen with the naked eye or show up on x-rays. The only evidence the person may have this condition are the symptoms he or she reports to the dentist.

These tiny cracks can form in the teeth for several reasons, such as from tooth grinding, direct impact, and even chewing hard foods. A person suffering from this condition will typically experience a sharp pain in the tooth whenever it's used. However, the pain often only occurs intermittently or in specific situations such as when

  • Chewing using a certain tooth (e.g. front tooth)
  • Eating foods with hard or chewy elements (e.g. fibrous foods or soft breads with seeds)
  • Grinding teeth together
  • Drinking or eating cold or sugary foods (e.g. ice cream)
  • Biting down on foods a certain way (e.g. using the tooth's edge instead of its center)
  • Using too much pressure when biting down

Sometimes the crack may form or extend near the pulp, leading to infection in the tooth. This typically leads to fistulas (pimple-like growths) forming on the gums near the infected tooth that may be filled with pus.

It can take months to diagnose cracked tooth syndrome, because symptoms aren't as constantly like they are with abscessed teeth. A fistula may heal as the infection goes away and the tooth pain may not occur often enough for the affected person to report it to a dentist. However, left untreated, cracked tooth syndrome can lead to bigger fractures and eventually tooth loss.

Treating Cracked Tooth Syndrome

If the dentist suspects you have cracked tooth syndrome, he or she will use alternative means to diagnose the problem such as a dye to highlight cracks or a specially designed tool to determine which tooth is causing pain and where.

Once a diagnosis has been made, there are a couple of ways the dentist can fix the problem. If the crack is near the tooth's edge (i.e. the cusp), the dentist will typically put a crown on it to protect it from further damage. If the crack is inside the tooth near the nerves and pulp, a root canal is generally recommended to eliminate the pain and prevent infection.

For more information about this dental problem or help with other oral health issues, contact a local dental office, such as Peninsula Community Health Services- Medical (Cottonwood)


22 February 2017