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Cracked teeth demonstrate many types of symptoms, including pain when chewing, temperature sensitivities, or even the release of biting pressure. It is also common for pain to come and go, making it difficult to diagnose the cause of discomfort.
Cracked teeth are usually caused by dental trauma, clenching or grinding. Left untreated, the crack in the tooth can extend causing severe pain particularly on biting, dental abscess, facial swelling and even tooth loss.
Chewing can cause movement of the cracked pieces of your tooth, and the pulp within the tooth becomes irritated. At the same time, when biting pressure is released, the crack can close quickly, resulting in sharp pain. Eventually, the pulp will become damaged and tooth will consistently hurt, even when you are not chewing. It is possible that cracks can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gum surrounding the problematic tooth.
It can be difficult to diagnose cracked teeth, as the pain associated with the tooth can sometimes come and go quite suddenly. Dr Sam uses the dental operating microscope and three dimensional imaging from cone beam computer tomography (CBCT) to asses your tooth for cracks.
Cracks that do not extend into the roots of the tooth are usually treatable if diagnosed early. If the crack has extended into the pulp tissue of a tooth, root canal treatment is recommended to save the tooth.
What can you do to prevent teeth from cracking?
You can take some steps to make your teeth less susceptible to cracks, although they are not completely avoidable:
Don't chew on hard objects such as ice, unpopped popcorn kernels or pens.
Don't clench or grind your teeth. If you do, talk to your dentist about getting a retainer or other mouthguard to protect your teeth.
When playing contact sports, be sure to wear a mouthguard.
Root Canal Re-treatment
With success rates of root canal treatment in the upper 90 percentile, there are still failures. Some of the reasons for these failures include:
- Curved or narrow canals that were not treated during the initial treatment.
- Complicated canals that went undetected during the initial treatment.
- The crown or restoration was not placed within the appropriate amount of time following the procedure.
- The crown or restoration that did not prevent saliva from contaminating the inside of the tooth.
- New decay can expose a root canal filling material, causing infection.
- A cracked or loose filling or crown can expose the tooth to new infection.
Our endodontist has undergone specialist training, so you can rest assured that you will get the best possible results from root canal retreatment.
Once retreatment has been selected as a solution, we will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. This restorative material will be removed to allow access to the root canal. Dr Sam will now clean your canals and carefully examine the inside of the problematic tooth. Once cleaned, the canals will be filled and sealed and a temporary filling placed in the tooth.
At this point, you will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore full functionality.
Root Canal Treatment
At a tooth’s center is the pulp. The pulp is made up of blood vessels that help build the tooth. Signs of a pulp infection occurring are: pain in the tooth and gums, sensitivity to temperature, swelling of the gums or face. If you experience the symptoms described above, your dentist will likely recommend root canal treatment. This therapy will remove the diseased pulp and clean and seal the root canal system. The treatment can be completed in one or more visits depending on the difficulty of the case.
Once root canal treatment is completed, the record of your treatment is sent to your restorative dentist. You will attend their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of treatment completion at our office. The restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth.