If you are eating a snack, and all of a sudden you bite down on something harder than expected, and you hear a crack, you may have just cracked a tooth. Or if you get hit in the mouth and you feel pain in a tooth, you may have just cracked one of your teeth. This situation usually arises unexpectedly, and you may not know what to do. Here’s a guide to help you with your next steps.
How A Cracked Tooth Happens
Cracking a tooth happens easier than you may think. There are several different reasons that you may experience a cracked tooth:
- Eating and drinking foods with extreme temperature differences-If you eat something cold (like ice cream) and then go immediately to drinking something hot (like coffee, tea, soup etc) the enamel in your teeth may crack. Think about a glass bowl that is exposed to extreme temperature differences.
- Grinding and clenching your teeth– Grinding and clenching your teeth can happen at any time. You may not even notice yourself doing it during the day, or you may not be aware that you are doing it during the night. Both grinding and clenching can damage the surface structure of your teeth, leaving them open to other kinds of damage like chipping and cracking.
- A previous dental procedure– A tooth that has previously had a dental procedure may be more susceptible to cracking. Fillings that are not checked regularly can become dislodged, leaving a space for your tooth’s structure to become cracked or chipped.
- Accidents– A blow to the mouth can leave you with a cracked or chipped tooth. Accidents happen so fast that it can be impossible to block your mouth fast enough and this can lead to dental damage.
- Chewing– Sometimes when you are eating, you may not be expecting a hard object in your food. Items like popcorn kernels, ice cubes, and pits in dried fruit can come up unexpectedly and if you bite down too hard, it can crack a tooth.
Signs Of A Cracked Tooth
If you crack a tooth, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- A sharp pain when you bite down
- Any pain while eating or drinking
- Pain that comes and goes
- A tooth feels different
- No pain at all
If you are experiencing any of these, take note. Keep track of what foods are causing you pain (hot or cold, sweet or salty, hard or soft, etc.). This will help your dentist to figure out the area and what is causing you the pain. It will also help you avoid pain until you can get to the office.
Cracks cannot always be seen by the naked eye, so having a dentist look at your teeth right away is the best way to prevent further damage. If you let a cracked tooth sit in your mouth untreated for too long, bacteria can get in the crack, causing further damage and decay.
If you think you may have cracked a tooth, please call our office right away. We do also take walk-in patients during our office hours so feel free to stop by when it is convenient for you. We will do our best to get you in to see someone as soon as possible.