Cracked Tooth Syndrome – What You Need To Know

We have had several patients recently who have had problems related to cracked teeth. The symptoms of which these patients complain can be difficult for both the patient and the dentist.  Both can become frustrated because the underlying cause of symptoms is frequently difficult to pinpoint.  Often, patients will complain about pain which is caused by biting pressure and sometimes temperature.  It is frustrating for both parties because the described symptoms are often difficult to duplicate in the dental office.  It’s kind of like bringing your car to the dealer with a specific problem which suddenly vanishes as soon as you arrive at the dealership.

Cracked teeth generally occur for two reasons.  First, silver or amalgam fillings expand and contract as we consume hot and cold foods and beverages. The expansion and contraction of the filling is slightly greater than the tooth itself.  So, after years of such cycling in temperature-associated expansion and contraction, cracks frequently develop in the teeth.  Second, cracks may occur while chewing foods.  Commonly patients will describe a sharp pain in a tooth while they had been chewing, and the tooth will remain sensitive to biting pressure and/or temperature.

Cracked teeth are addressed in stages depending upon symptoms.  First, a bonded filling may be placed in an attempt to prevent the cracks from propagating further.  Depending on the depth and severity of the crack, an onlay or crown may be necessary to prevent the tooth from breaking.  An onlay covers any thin walls of the tooth which may be at risk for fracture and is considered a conservative, aesthetic and long-term restoration.  If the tooth has an extensive existing restoration or a more severe crack, then a crown which covers the entire tooth will be required to prevent the tooth from breaking.

In either case, the problem needs to be addressed as quickly as possible to prevent the crack from propagating further into the tooth leading to more severe dental problems.  For example, if the crack reaches the pulp of the tooth, then root canal therapy will be required as well.  The most severe complication would be the vertical tooth fracture which includes the root thereby making the tooth non-restorable.  In such cases removal of the tooth and replacement in some fashion will be required.

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The important points to remember are as follows:

1. Determine the exact source of discomfort first

2. Address the symptoms as quickly as possible

3. Begin with the most conservative treatment and progress as needed to eliminate all symptoms

Such teeth need to be followed on a regular basis to ensure that damage to the pulp has not occurred.  Appropriate x-rays at routine intervals will be helpful for this.  Keeping your dentist apprised of precise symptoms will also go a long way to help in diagnosis.

If you have any questions about cracked tooth syndrome please do not hesitate to contact our office by calling 908.359.6655 or on the web at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com

Change your diet, Protect your teeth!

Change Your Diet, Protect Your Teeth

Food and Oral Health

Every few months, we remind our blog readers about the basic formula that leads to tooth decay and poor oral health:

Bacteria + Food + Time = CAVITIES or GUM DISEASE or BOTH

You probably already know that the foods that put you at the greatest risk for tooth decay and gum disease are those high in sugar, any kind of sugar.   An easy way to address this is to opt for snacks that are lower in sugar and higher in nutritional content.  This not only reduces the risk of cavities, but also helps to strengthen overall health by nourishing the body.

For “mouth healthy eating”, the ADA mouthhealthy website makes the following recommendations:

“For good dental health, keep these tips in mind when choosing your meals and snacks:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups, including:
  •  whole grains
  •  fruits
  • vegetables
  • lean sources of protein such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish; dry beans, peas and other legumes
  • low-fat and fat-free dairy foods”

    Are there foods that can protect my teeth?

Beyond controlling sugar intake to make a positive impact on your oral health, there are also some foods that are known to help protect and strengthen the teeth.

Cheese: Cheese, especially cheddar cheese can help balance the pH levels in your mouth, neutralizing the natural acids found in foods.  Neutralizing these acids can help protect the enamel on your teeth, which erodes when exposed to acids.

Crunchy Vegetables: Crunchy veggies actually help clean your teeth while you eat, helping to remove food particles as you chew, limiting the build-up of plaque.  Also, chewing crunchy vegetables can help increase saliva production in the mouth, which helps wash away food particles and neutralize cavity-causing acids.  And they are extremely nutritious!

Sesame Seeds: These flavorful little seeds are abrasive enough to help remove plaque from your teeth while they are being chewed.  In addition, they are high in calcium and can help promote strong teeth in children.

 Are there supplements that can help support my oral health? 

There are certain supplements that can help keep your gums healthy, which in turn can help promote your overall oral health.  Check out the answers provided by Dr. De Vizio DMD and Dr. Gerry Curatola on the Colgate Oral Health Sharecare website:

Yes, supplements such as Vitamin B and iron can help keep your gums healthy. Vitamin B is essential for growth and iron for healthy blood, which in turn contributes to healthy gum tissue. Vitamin C keeps gums healthy by producing healthy connective tissue that holds teeth in their sockets. The antioxidant nutrient, co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) provides energy needed for gum cell growth and healing of gum tissue. Other nutrients important for gum health include vitamin A and beta carotene, zinc, vitamin E, selenium, and flavonoids. ~Dr. De Vizio DMD

Japanese researchers in the 1970’s biopsied diseased gums and discovered that there were deficiencies of key antioxidants necessary for proper cell function. Since then, ongoing research has identified the most important are Vitamin C, Coenzyme Q-10, Vitamin E, Folic Acid, B-12, Vitamin D, and Essential Fatty Acids- Omega 3, 6, 9. ~Dr. Gerry Curatola

 Promoting Your Health with Food

As you can see, not only can eating certain foods CAUSE cavities, but eating others can actually help PREVENT them.  This won’t replace the need to brush and floss regularly and get regular dental check-ups and cleanings, but it can help to promote and protect your oral and overall health.

To learn more about maintaining your oral health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Richard M. Nadler by calling our Hillsborough NJ dentist office at (908) 359-6655. Remember to visit our website at www.DesignsForDentalHealth.com for more information about our office and services.