How do I know if my tooth is cracked?
Cracked teeth show a variety of symptoms, including pain when chewing or pain when your tooth is exposed to temperature extremes.
Why does a cracked tooth hurt?
To understand why a cracked tooth hurts, it helps to know some basic tooth anatomy. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is the inner soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels.
When the outer hard tissues of the tooth are cracked, chewing can cause movement of the pieces, and the pulp can become irritated. Eventually, the pulp will become damaged to the point that it can no longer heal itself.
The tooth will not only hurt when chewing but may also become sensitive to temperature extremes. In time, a cracked tooth may begin to hurt spontaneously. Extensive cracks can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gum surrounding the tooth.
What if my tooth is chipped?
Chipped teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. Most chipped teeth can be repaired either by reattaching the broken piece of tooth enamel or by bonding a tooth-colored filling or crown in place. See your dentist as soon as possible after the injury to treat your chipped tooth and keep it from worsening.