A cracked tooth certainly sounds like a painful experience, and sometimes it is. Other times, however, a cracked tooth may remain asymptomatic (pain-free) for years, or even decades.
One of the risks of leaving cracked teeth undiagnosed is that even a microscopic crack may open the door for bacteria to enter your tooth and decay it from the inside out. This situation will often require a root canal or extraction, depending on the extent of the damage.
When a Cracked Tooth Hurts
Whether a tooth hurts or not depends on how close the damage is to the nerve. A cracked tooth may lose a cusp, due to clenching and grinding or because of biting into something hard. Because the nerve is not involved, you may feel the crack with your tongue (and it is usually annoying and sharp), but not feel actual tooth pain.
Another instance when cracked teeth commonly hurt is when biting into something that places pressure on the damaged area. We have a tool in our dental office to detect cracks that are not visible to the eye, called the bite test.
People who have a clenching and grinding habit often awaken with tooth pain because of prolonged pressure during the night. Teeth grinding is how many cracks develop in the first place.
How to Detect Cracked Teeth
The best way to detect a cracked tooth before it causes pain, decay, or infection is to make sure that you come into our office for regular dental exams and x-rays. Dr. Robertson will alert you to any teeth he feels are in jeopardy or require treatment.
If you do need a dental crown, we create custom, high-quality restorations to prolong the life of your tooth. In many cases, we can make crowns that blend in with your smile.
If you want a reliable and experienced dentist in the Irvine, CA area, we welcome new patients and look forward to helping you get the dental care you need to stay healthy.