The enamel which is the external layer of the tooth is the hardest tissue in the human body, but it is breakable. If for any reason the enamel is fractured, the damage can easily spread to the softer dentin layer below and the dental pulp chamber holding the tooth nerves in the core of the tooth.
Most common chipped tooth pain affect the crown of the tooth originating from the biting surface and over a period of time slowly extend toward the roots. Fractures confined to the enamel will seldom hurt or cause discomfort.
If the fissure reaches as deep as the dentin, the tooth becomes susceptible to hot, cold or touch because of the exposed dentin. Chewing creates a movement of the fluids in the dentin’s microtubules ending in acute pain comparable to that of tooth sensitivity. The chipped tooth pain is felt especially amid bites when the tension is released from the tooth.
If the fissure has spread the pulp chamber, chewing can create the movement of the cracked piece of the tooth aggravating the pulp and the tooth nerves resulting in a temporary, sharp pain. If the situation is not treated, besides of having to experience the chipped tooth pain, damage to the pulp may become permanent. In this scenario, the toothache will increase and appear even without any external stimuli. Bacteria can also invade in the fracture and into the pulp tissue creating a painful infection.
The fracture creating the toothache may be not evident to the eye if it is a tiny one or if it is in the root region beneath the gums. Seldom, x-rays even may fail to expose a small hair-like ‘hidden’ fracture. Minor tooth fractures are unlikely to produce symptoms, so the problem may exist for a long time until the patient begins to feel the cracked tooth pain.
A tooth fracture or chipped tooth may result under several conditions, such as:
- Natural wear
- Clenching or grating teeth
- Poor practices such as chewing pencils
- Accidents / mouth injuries
- Large fillings can weaken the teeth creating a tooth fracture
- Complications during/after endodontic therapy
Chipped tooth pain, like any other toothache, must not be neglected. Calling Troy Family Dental may aid to diagnose a fractured/cracked tooth before the fracture causes irreversible damage to the tooth. Tooth fractures do not heal like a fracture in bone. A fissure will only get worse growing more and raising the risk to need complex treatment or experience tooth loss. In fact, even following treatment, an earlier chipped tooth remains receptive to new fractures in the future.
The treatment for fractured tooth pain depends on the variety, location, and severity of the fracture.
If the fracture is not too deep and it is diagnosed quick enough, when it has only affected the enamel or partly the dentine, a simple dental filling may allow sufficient treatment. The dentist will appraise the extent of the damage and determine if a dental crown is needed. For fractured teeth or extensive deep fractures, a dental crown can help preserve the integrity of the tooth and stop further damage.
Cases of cracked tooth syndrome where the fissure has reached and damaged the pulp of the tooth will require endodontic treatment before they can be restored. A root canal procedure is also required in the case a crack has caused the infection of the tooth by bacteria. A post and crown are usually used to reconstruct a fractured tooth following a root canal therapy.
Root fractures that begin from the tip of the root and moves towards the middle of the tooth can be treated in multi-rooted teeth with a method known as apicoectomy that involves the extraction of the affected root.
An individual rooted tooth with a root fracture isn’t treatable, and it has to be eliminated.
In numerous cases of severely cracked tooth pain, the destruction may be so great that the tooth can not be repaired, and tooth extraction is required. A split tooth or a singled root tooth with a root fracture are examples of cases that the tooth will regularly have to be removed to relieve the pain from the crack or fracture.
Although a tooth fracture can happen unexpectedly at any time, the following suggestions may help to lessen the risk of cracked tooth pain:
- Stop harmful habits such as biting pencils.
- Don’t clench or grind your teeth. Use a night mouth guard until you stop the habit.
- Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports.
- Be careful eating hard foods.
- Replace large fillings with a dental crown.