Do You Have a Cracked Tooth?
A tooth that is cracked can be painful. A crack can also lead to disease of the tooth. How do you know if you have a cracked tooth? Look for these signs:
- You have sharp pain when biting down that quickly disappears.
- You have pain that comes and goes, but does not hurt all the time.
- You feel pain when eating or drinking.
- You may have no pain at all.
How Can You Tell if a Tooth is Cracked?
It can be hard to tell if you have a cracked tooth. If you have pain, you may not even be able to tell which tooth hurts or whether the pain is from an upper or lower tooth. Cracks are sometimes invisible to the eye and may not show up on an x-ray.
You can help your dentist find the problem tooth by sharing the following:
- what things cause you pain (such as heat or cold, or foods that are sweet, sour or sticky)
- the area of the pain
Why Does a Cracked Tooth Hurt?
A cracked tooth may hurt because the pressure of biting causes the crack to open. When you stop biting, the pressure is released and the pain goes away.
Even though the crack may be too small to see, when it opens, the pulp inside the tooth may become irritated. The pulp is a soft tissue that contains the tooth's nerves and blood vessels. If the crack irritates the pulp, the tooth may become sensitive to extreme heat and cold. The pulp can also become damaged or diseased as a result of the crack. In that case, endodontic (root canal) treatment may be necessary to save the tooth.