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cracked tooth syndrome sydney

Cracked Tooth Syndrome — Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

If you have ever experienced a sudden jolt of pain in your tooth, you may have had a “cracked tooth.” Cracked tooth syndrome (CTS) is a condition that can result from several different factors, including chewing hard foods, grinding your teeth, or suffering a blow to the mouth. The crack can be small and barely visible and may not show up on x-rays, or it could be under the gumline. Typically, it isn’t a dental emergency, but if you are in severe pain, you should get in touch with an emergency dentist for advice.


What is Cracked Tooth Syndrome?

Also known as split tooth or cracked cusp syndrome, it mainly occurs in molars (the lower back teeth), and it can be challenging to identify. CTS can begin as tooth sensitivity, but if it is untreated can progress to severe pain and tenderness. 


Is a Cracked Tooth Ever a Dental Emergency?

A large crack in a tooth can be a dental emergency—particularly if accompanied by pain that won’t shift with painkillers. If in doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so talk with an emergency dentist and see what they recommend.


What Causes Cracked Tooth Syndrome?

  • A cracked tooth tends to occur in the molars simply because they absorb most of the chewing forces in the mouth treatment crack teeth sydney
  • Teeth with large fillings or root canals are more likely to lead to a cracked tooth
  • If you have one cracked tooth, there’s a high chance you may have another in the future
  • CTS tends to affect both men and women between the ages of 30 and 50
  • People that have bruxism (tooth grinding or jaw clenching) may be susceptible to cracked teeth due to the friction caused to the surfaces of the teeth
  • Malocclusion (if the top and bottom teeth don’t fit together correctly) can also cause cracked tooth syndrome because excessive pressure may be exerted on one tooth in the way the teeth naturally come together.


What are the Signs and Symptoms of Cracked Tooth Syndrome?

The initial sign of CTS may be pain when chewing or biting. The intensity of the pain may vary, from mild to severe and fleeting to lasting some time. For some people, the pain may only occur when they bite in a particular way or eat certain foods. Unlike an abscess or cavity, a cracked tooth does not usually produce constant pain, but it may feel sensitive—especially to cold temperatures.

Untreated, a cracked tooth is likely to cause more problems. The crack will likely get bigger, or some teeth may break entirely. A cracked tooth is susceptible to infection and may lead to a fistula—a pimple-like lump on the gum that will need antibiotics and pus draining. In these circumstances, you may need to see an emergency dentist as infections in the mouth need to be dealt with quickly.

As the pain in cracked tooth syndrome is not predictable, people who have it tend to have the problem for some months before it is diagnosed.


What is the Treatment for Cracked Tooth Syndrome?

The treatment for a cracked tooth will depend on how large and deep the crack is and where it is located on the tooth. Treatments may include:



Dental crowns

Dental crowns are a good option for a cracked tooth where only the surfaces of the tooth, rather than the pulp, have been affected. Crowns can add strength to the tooth, protect it from further damage and improve the appearance of the tooth. 

Traditionally, crowns were made in external laboratories so that it would take at least two visits to the dentist—one to have the tooth prepared and the next to have the crown fitted once it had been received back from the lab. With CEREC technology at No Gaps Dental, we can make crowns onsite while you wait.


signs tooth crack sydneyRoot Canal

A root canal is required when the crack has affected the soft tissue in the centre of a tooth (the pulp) where blood vessels and nerves reside. It’s estimated that around a fifth of cracked tooth syndrome cases will need to have a root canal.

The treatment involves removing the infected pulp from the tooth’s centre and roots. It may take several hours, depending on how many root canals the tooth has. Once complete, the tooth is temporarily sealed to ensure there is no infection before the tooth is permanently filled a week or two later.


Tooth Extraction

A cracked tooth that affects the tooth root and extends below the gum line is not treatable. Unfortunately, the tooth cannot be saved and will need to be extracted to prevent infection and further discomfort.


Prevention of Cracked Teeth

If you have root canals or large fillings, you should be careful not to place them under undue stress as they are more likely to crack than teeth without previous treatment.

It is worth talking to us about protecting your teeth with a nightguard if you have bruxism. Not only will this protect your teeth, but it can also help to relieve any tooth or jaw pain caused by the friction of grinding the teeth together.

If you partake in contact sports, getting a mouthguard is an essential piece of kit that can help to protect your mouth and teeth from injury. Again, we can help you with this, so do contact us.


The Takeaway

Cracked tooth syndrome is treatable—but even though it’s not a dental emergency, you should not delay seeing a dentist. Otherwise, it may be an emergency dentist you’ll need to visit for a much bigger problem than a tiny crack. Don’t take chances with your dental health. Call us today on (02) 8007 6727 to schedule an appointment at a No Gaps Dental clinic near you.  






Healthline: What is a root canal?

Mayo Clinic: Bruxism (teeth grinding),a%20sleep%2Drelated%20movement%20disorder.

WebMD: What is malocclusion?







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