Cracked Tooth Syndrome

What is cracked tooth syndrome?

Cracked tooth syndrome (CTS) involves a partial fracture of a tooth in which the dentin is damaged. In some cases, the nerve-rich pulp inside the tooth may be affected. The depth of a fracture varies from patient to patient. This condition is equally common among men and women between the ages of 30 and 50. Cracked tooth syndrome is most often seen in upper second molars, followed by upper first molars and lower premolars. A fracture may be located on the cusp of a tooth or centrally located, in which case it may extend into the pulp.

What are the symptoms of cracked tooth syndrome?

  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Pain when pressure is applied to the affected tooth cusps
  • Relief from pain after pressure is removed from teeth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
  • Pain without visible signs of tooth trauma

How do I know if I have cracked tooth syndrome?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of cracked tooth syndrome, see Dr. Gross immediately. Cracked tooth syndrome is difficult to diagnose because the fracture is usually too small to be detected with an X-ray. Dr. Gross will inspect your teeth for cracks and ask you to bite on a plastic tool that covers one tooth at a time to determine which tooth is experiencing pain. Once the tooth has been identified, Dr. Gross will gently probe around the tooth with a dental tool, use a special dye, or shine a bright light on the tooth to expose the crack.

What causes CTS?

  • Restorative procedures performed improperly, such as removing too much tooth structure during a filling procedure
  • Bruxism, which is a condition characterized by grinding or clenching the teeth
  • Biting on hard substances
  • Untreated cavities
  • Cracks in the tooth enamel
  • Childhood tooth development problems
  • Jaw misalignment

How can cracked tooth syndrome be treated?

Treatment depends on the location, depth, and size of the fracture. If the pulp is affected by the fracture, endodontic treatment may be necessary. If the interior structures of the teeth are not compromised by the fracture, we may restore the tooth with conventional restoration methods such as a composite filling or a crown. Using the most advanced technology, Dr. Gross will ensure that the tooth is stabilized and fully functioning with methods that are as minimally invasive as possible and conserve the most tooth structure.