Cracked Teeth - The Silent Epidemic

We all know that tooth decay can lead to tooth ache, dental infections and even tooth loss, but there is another common problem that we see everyday in our practice and it’s only becoming more common, CRACKED TEETH.

“Third most common cause of tooth loss after tooth decay and gum disease.’

It is something we observe in our patients’ teeth prior to them having any pain in that tooth. It is insidious. In the same way that tooth decay, which can progress significantly before the patient becomes aware of a cavity or pain, cracks can progress and lead to tooth fracture as the first sign of trouble. It is a silent epidemic.

Identifying cracked teeth early, and treating them appropriately can minimise the risk of the crack progressing and give you the assurance you have done everything you can to maintain that tooth for as long as possible.

If you want to know if you may have cracked teeth and what you can do to protect your teeth then read on.

Teeth can crack for a number of reasons:

  • Large fillings in teeth can lead to weakness of the remaining tooth structure  

  • The shape of the previous fillings placed in a tooth or the material used can mean that the tooth is compromised

  • Heavy biting forces or clenching/grinding habits

Sometimes it is a combination of all these factors that can result in cracks developing. Interestingly cracked tooth syndrome, as it is called, is more common in females than males. (1)

Cracked teeth are also more common in those aged over 40.

How do you know if you have a cracked tooth?

A cracked tooth can have a range of symptoms. These include:

  • Erratic pain that comes and goes

  • Pain when biting, or when biting on harder foods like muesli, Doritos or grain bread.

  • Sometimes the tooth is sensitive to hot and cold, sensitivity to warm is a common symptom of cracked teeth

Recent research has demonstrated that bacteria progress along the lines of weakness or cracks and head towards the centre of the tooth where the nerve resides. This can lead to pain, or eventually the nerve will die and become infected causing an abscess.

So the worry is the tooth breaking along the line of weakness, like a log being split AND the nerve being invaded by bacteria leading to nerve death and infection.


What can I do to prevent cracked teeth?

There are steps you can take to protect your teeth from cracking, which can save you from unnecessary expense and pain in the future.

  1. Avoid chewing on hard things such as crunching on ice cubes, nuts or bone.

  2. If you are aware of clenching or grinding your teeth, then discuss this with your dentist as wearing a night guard can protect your teeth when you are asleep.

  3. Wear a custom fitted mouth guard if playing contact sports in order to protect them from trauma.

If any of this relates to you then please contact us on 02 69215799 or CLICK HERE to book an appointment to discuss your concerns.

(1) Lubisich EB, Hilton TJ, Ferracane J, Northwest Precedent. 
Cracked teeth: a review of the literature. J Esthet Restor Dent. 2010;22(3):158-67.

Kimberley Hayllar