Cracks in teeth are inevitable. They occur as a result of years of chewing forces, as well as potential clenching and grinding habits. Since the mouth is an environment which subjects teeth to constant pressure from chewing forces, cracks have the propensity to get deeper with time. As cracks get deeper into the tooth, patients start to experience pain to chewing. If the crack reaches the pulp of the tooth, root canal therapy is required, to ensure the tooth does not get infected. If a cracked tooth is not treated in a timely manner, the crack may propagate further down the root, causing a “split tooth”, requiring extraction of the tooth.
Cracked teeth demonstrate many types of symptoms, including pain when chewing, temperature sensitivities, or even the release of biting pressure. It is also common for pain to come and go, making it difficult to diagnose the cause of discomfort. Chewing can cause movement of the cracked pieces of your tooth, and the pulp within the tooth becomes irritated. At the same time, when biting pressure is released, the crack can close quickly, resulting in sharp pain. Eventually, the pulp will become damaged and tooth will consistently hurt, even when you are not chewing. It is possible that cracks can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gum surrounding the problematic tooth.