Pain when you chew? No pain when you don't? Hello cracked tooth Can you relate to this? You bite down while eating and suddenly you are greeted with a sharp, shooting pain that leaves you reeling in obvious discomfort. When you do eat, you find yourself favoring one side of your mouth. When you aren't eating or chewing though, the pain seems to disappear leaving you wondering what's going on? Chances are you have a cracked tooth. When your tooth is cracked, it usually affects the soft inner tissue of the tooth called the pulp, the heart of the tooth where the blood vessels and nerves live. When it's damaged, it obviously causes pain. That is why a cracked tooth hurts - the pulp is damaged. To relieve the pain and to ultimately save your tooth, the pulp needs to be gently treated. A common problem but still a serious concern Cracked and fractured teeth are common dental problems. When you preserve the state of your natural teeth for a long time (because of advances in today's dental technology), the likelihood of suffering a cracked tooth increases. THERE ARE MANY REASONS WHY TEETH MAY CRACK biting on hard objects trauma grinding and clenching When your tooth enamel is cracked, pain can become momentarily debilitating. However, when you aren't chewing or exerting pressure on the crack, you may not notice any discomfort. When the cracked tooth bites down on something, the crack widens and then the inner workings and pulp of the tooth become uncovered, leaving you in great pain. As pressure is released again, the two parts of the crack combine back together and pain subsides. When left untreated, the pulp becomes permanently damaged and leaves you in constant pain. The pulp can become infected and can start to affect the soft tissue and bone surrounding the tooth. SYMPTOMS OF A CRACKED TOOTH MAY INCLUDE Unexplained pain when eating. Sensitivity to warm and cold foods. Pain with no obvious cause. Difficulty pinpointing the location of the pain. What kind of cracks can affect the teeth? There are a lot of ways you can crack your tooth and based on the crack, there are different treatments available by family dentist, Dr. Khullar. If the crack isn't too deep, root canal therapy can be performed, allowing you to keep your natural tooth. Adversely, if the tooth is badly damaged it may require extraction. OVERVIEW OF COMMON TYPES OF CRACKS CRAZESThese are tiny vertical cracks that don't place the teeth in danger. Considered by most dentists to be normal, these scratches on the surface of the teeth are a normal part of the tooth anatomy. A craze seldom requires treatment for health reasons, however, a variety of cosmetic treatments can be performed to reduce the aesthetic impact. OBLIQUE SUPRAGINGIVAL CRACKSThese cracks don't extend below the gum line and only affect the crown of the tooth. Usually, the affected part of the tooth will eventually break off. Little pain will result, because the tooth pulp (that contains the nerves and vessels) will remain unaffected. OBLIQUE SUBGINGIVAL CRACKSThese cracks extend beyond the gum line and often beyond where the jawbone begins. When a piece breaks off, it will usually remain attached until the Dr. Khullar, family dentist, removes it. Oblique subgingival cracks are painful and may require a combination of periodontal surgery (to expose the crown), and endodontic treatment to place a crown or other restorative device. VERTICAL FURCATION CRACKSThese cracks occur when the roots of the tooth separate. This type of crack almost always affects the nerve of the tooth. Because the tooth will not generally separate completely, root canal therapy and a crown can usually save the tooth. OBLIQUE ROOT CRACKSThese cracks generally don't affect the surface of the tooth at all. In fact, this kind of cracked tooth is only apparent below the gum line and typically below the jawbone. Depending on how close the fracture is to the tooth surface, root canal therapy may be possible; Generally, extraction is the only option after sustaining this type of fracture. VERTICAL APICAL ROOT CRACKSThese cracks occur at the tip of the root. Though the tooth doesn't require extraction from a dental stand-point, many Little Rock patients request an extraction because of the high degree of pain. Root canal therapy improves the discomfort for awhile, but usually, teeth affected by such cracks are eventually extracted. How are cracks in the teeth treated? There are many different types of cracked teeth. Some will show up using an X-ray, while others are clearly visible to the naked eye. When the tooth root is affected, root canal therapy is the most best treatment option. The pulp, vessels and nerves of the tooth will be removed and the resulting space will be filled with gutta-percha (a rubber-like substance). A filling or crown will be added to stabilize the tooth and it will continue to function as normal. When the crack is too critical and severe for the tooth to be saved, Dentalways will pull the tooth. There are a number of restorative alternatives in this case, such as dental implants, bridges and partial dentures. All of these structures can restore chewing, biting and speaking functions. Relief is on the way If you suffer from a cracked tooth, regardless of how it happened, Dentalways will ensure you receive relief from your pain and reduce the chances of the crack getting worse. Cracked teeth continue to function for years after treatment and will be monitored at every check-up with Dr. Khullar. You don't have to suffer anymore. One visit will determine the best route for you and the overall health of your mouth.