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Cracked Tooth

A cracked or broken tooth undergos flexion, compression, contraction and expansion. A cracked tooth is therefore relatively common. Cracks may be categorised as physiological or pathological. At worst they can be the cause of much toothache and lead to its ultimate loss.

Cracked Tooth & Broken Tooth Edinburgh

A serious crack within the tooth may not always be painful. Often you can lose a whole chunk of tooth and not feel any pain! This is because hairline cracks can slowly open up over many years and the tooth seals itself as the crack extends. Early signs of problems can be detected when you feel sharp twinges on chewing. Taking action on these symptoms is important in order to avoid more serious consequences, hence you should visit the dentist and make them aware of the problem.

  • Physiological Cracking

Physiological cracking is localised within the enamel covering of the tooth-structure, they appear as vertical lines extending up the tooth longitudinally and are of no consequence. It happens because the inner dentine is a more elastic structure and heavy biting/chewing causes the enamel to shift under the load without the tooth breaking. Further to this, thermal changes within the mouth (drinking hot drinks/eating ice-cream) will create contractional and expansional values within the tooth- the enamel and dentine move to different extents and some give will need to occur to allow the tooth to stay together. The nerve or pulp within each tooth ensures that forces exerted by the individual and temperatures introduced fall within a specific range.

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  • Pathological Cracking

Pathological cracking occurs where the load exceeds the normal range, such as a blow to the face, or the tooth is in a pre-existing weakened state. A tooth is weakened when it is filled, the larger the filling, the weaker the tooth. When a tooth cracks, the significance relates to the direction of the split. Often a cusp will break away as the forces shear the weakest part away, however if the crack extends through the floor of the tooth then the nerve may be involved and a root canal or extraction becomes necessary. Treatment modalities include crowns and other cuspal coverage treatments.