Cracked tooth syndrome is most common in lower back teeth (molars).
That's because these teeth absorb most of the forces of chewing.
Some people grind or clench their teeth. These people may be more likely
to have cracked tooth syndrome. Sometimes, the way a person's teeth
come together can put too much pressure on one tooth. This can cause the
teeth to crack.
Teeth with large fillings may be more likely to crack. Teeth that have
undergone root canal treatment are weaker than other teeth and also may
be more likely to crack.
People with one cracked tooth are more likely to have others, either at
the same time or in the future.
If the crack gets bigger, a piece of the tooth can break. You many
also develop an infection. This can happen in the gum around the
fractured tooth. You may notice a pimple-like bump on the gum near the
tooth. This is known as a fistula.
Many people with cracked tooth syndrome have symptoms for months. It is
hard to diagnose cracked tooth syndrome because the pain is not
Your dentist may use a special tool to test the tooth. There are
different kinds of tools. One looks like a toothbrush without bristles.
It fits over one part of the tooth at a time as you bite down. If you
feel pain, the part of the tooth being tested most likely has a crack in
Your dentist may shine a very bright light on the tooth. He or she may
stain it with a special dye. If the tooth already has a filling or
crown, your dentist may remove it in order to see the tooth better.
Sometimes a crack affects one or more cusps of a tooth. These are the
highest points of the tooth. In this case, the tooth may be fixed with a
Some cracks affect the pulp: the center of the tooth, where the nerves
and blood vessels are. In that case, the tooth will need root canal treatment.
About 20% of teeth with cracked tooth syndrome will need root
canals. After a root canal, the tooth will no longer be sensitive to
temperature, but it still will respond to pressure. If you felt pain
before the root canal, you may still feel some pain afterward. It
probably will not be as intense or as frequent, but it may still occur.
In some cases, the tooth may need to be removed.
Some cracks affect the root of the tooth in the jaw. There's no way to
fix this type of crack. If your tooth is removed, you can have it
replaced with an implant or a bridge.
Your dentist can make a night guard (a plastic bite piece) to prevent
you from grinding your teeth. This will relieve the pain from grinding.
For some people it can stop tooth sensitivity. The night guard can be
worn during sleep. It also can be work at other times if clenching or
grinding happens during waking hours as well.