Cracked teeth can be caused by a number of things, ranging from mouth trauma or bruxism (tooth grinding) to poor dental hygiene or even biting down on hard, crunchy foods. Furthermore, cracks can occur on any tooth, but are most commonly found on molars. If you're been suffering from pain while chewing, along with intermittent sensitivity to hot and cold foods/beverages, you may be dealing with a cracked molar. The good news is that there are treatment options you can talk over with a dentist at a clinic like Village Family Dental once your suspicions of a cracked tooth have been confirmed.
Polishing for Craze Lines
If the crack in your molar is minor enough (in other words, it hasn't cracked past the enamel), then you'll most likely just need your dentist to do some polishing of the affected tooth. These small, surface cracks are quite common and are known as craze lines. They generally don't cause pain or discomfort, but may be visible by your dentist at your routine cleanings or on an X-ray. Polishing the tooth will reduce the appearance of the crack, and from there, your dentist will just have to keep an eye on it to make sure the crack doesn't return.
Simple Bonding With Resin
In some cases, the crack will reach beyond the tooth's enamel, causing discomfort and pain when chewing or when enjoying hot/cold beverages. If this is the case, then as long as the crack hasn't reached beyond the gum line, the tooth can likely be bonded back together using a tooth-colored resin. This is a relatively simple procedure that can be done in a matter of minutes, provided that the tooth hasn't cracked to the point of becoming loose or otherwise unstable.
Root Canal and Crown
In more severe cases of a cracked tooth, it may be necessary to do a root canal. This is necessary when the crack has allowed bacteria to enter into the tooth's pulp, thus infecting it. When a root canal becomes necessary to saved a cracked tooth, a crown must be placed over the affected tooth to restore its appearance and protect the root canal itself.
Extraction and Dental Implant
Last but not least, if the crack has reached past the gum line, the only option (in most cases) is to completely extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant. In such situations, it's best to trust a qualified and experienced cosmetic dentist with the implant itself.