Teeth are tough and meant to last a lifetime. But even the toughest teeth can crack. Cracked teeth can become lost teeth if you don’t get treatment for them. The best chance you have of saving a cracked tooth is with endodontic treatment.
Teeth are durable enough to stand up to chewing food for decades. But even healthy teeth can crack from extreme stresses placed on them. What causes teeth to crack? The following are among the top reasons:
You can grind your teeth and never know that you have the habit. Many people grind their teeth at night. They may wake up their partners from the noise or wake up with jaw pain or headaches.
While teeth should bite and grind down food, they should not rub against each other. Over time, teeth grinding can lead to cracks in the teeth.
Traumatic injuries to the mouth can crack teeth. For example, car accidents, high-impact sports, or falls could cause teeth to either dislodge from the mouth or crack.
Major shifts in temperature inside the mouth can stress the teeth and possibly cause cracking. For example, if you eat ice cream and drink hot coffee. The shift from hot to cold when drinking hot coffee and following it with ice cream could lead to cracks.
Everyone had used their teeth at some point to open a package or bottle when they lacked the appropriate tool. Your teeth don’t have the same strength as a stainless-steel knife or bottle opener. Misusing them could cause cracks to develop.
Hard foods or hard pieces hidden in foods can cause cracking, especially if you bite down hard on the substance. For example, if you bite down too hard on a piece of fish with a bone in it, your teeth could crack when hitting the bone. Other common offenders include eating ice, biting on hard candies, or crunching nuts.
Age plays a role in teeth cracking. Most people who crack their teeth are middle-aged or older. However, cracked teeth can impact people of any age.
If you crack a tooth, you may not notice at first. Some cracks develop slowly over time, and others happen suddenly from traumatic injuries. In fact, you may not realize that you have a cracked tooth until your dentist sees it during an exam.
A cracked tooth will worsen without treatment. Therefore, you should get an appointment for an assessment and treatment as soon as possible. Cracks can lead to tooth loss. Endodontists may use one or more types of treatment to help save a cracked tooth. You’ll have your tooth imaged when you go to an endodontist for care. The images can help the endodontist determine how far a crack may extend. These images will help the endodontist determine if root canal treatment or retreatment is an option.
You can proactively take steps to avoid cracking your teeth. To prevent cracks from occurring, make a few lifestyle changes to reduce your risk.
First, if you play any type of high-impact sport, always wear a mouthguard during play. You only have one set of teeth to last you for a lifetime. A cracked, broken, or avulsed tooth injured during play could cause loss of the tooth.
If you wake up with headaches or your partner complains of grinding noises at night, talk to your dentist about a nightguard. These mouthpieces cushion and protect your teeth from nightly teeth-grinding damage. You can find over-the-counter and dentist-provided options. Ask your dentist for recommendations to help protect your teeth.
Break the habit of using your teeth as tools. Avoid opening packages or bottles with your teeth. If you bite your nails, try to stop the habit. Additionally, you should stop crunching on ice. Biting down on the ice, especially if it hasn’t melted much, can crack the teeth as easily as using your teeth as a bottle opener.
Only use your teeth for eating food. Use your stronger back teeth when biting down on harder foods, and watch out for bones in your food.
Finally, take good care of your teeth. Healthy teeth don’t have large fillings, which means they retain their original strength. However, if you do need a filling, don’t put off getting treatment. If you wait too long for a filling, you will need to see an endodontist for a root canal.
Maintain regular dental appointments and brushing and flossing habits. Healthy teeth are stronger and more likely to avoid cracking.
Cracked teeth need treatment to stop the progression of the crack and prevent infection. If you or your dentist finds a crack in one of your teeth, contact us at Innovative Endodontics for an appointment at one of our two convenient locations in Moncks Corner, SC, and Summerville, SC. With endodontic treatment, you have a chance of saving the tooth and your smile.