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Cracked Teeth and Tooth Pain

When we discuss cracked teeth with patients, it may sound like we are saying that the tooth is broken, or that a piece has fractured off. A cracked tooth can look for completely normal to the normal eye. How does a patient know if they are dealing with a cracked tooth? Dental pain associated with cracked teeth is unlike pain that accompanies an infection or cavity. Cracked teeth respond to much different stimuli and do not always constantly hurt.

Can You Bite Down on a Cracked Tooth?

As we said previously, pain isn’t always constant when it comes to cracked teeth. Pain responses can be prompted by a range of stimuli or by nothing at all. What might sound strange is that biting down on a cracked tooth might not yield any pain response – it’s the release of pressure that brings about the sudden intense pain. However, biting into something hard can yield some discomfort, such as biting into an apple. This is because a microscopic crack opens the pulp or nerve of the tooth, which then becomes incredibly sensitive and almost hyper-reactive to pressure and temperatures.  

Why Would a Tooth React to Temperature?

There are obviously many reasons why a tooth reacts to hot or cold temperatures. Clenching and grinding of teeth wears enamel and makes teeth hypersensitive to temperature and sweets.  But if you’re not a grinder and don’t have areas of gum recession that exposes vulnerable dentin, why would a tooth react to temperature? If your dentist has ruled out the presence of dental decay and infection, then exploring the possibility of a cracked tooth may be needed. Under the protective layers of enamel and dentin is the soft tissue of pulp, which is the life force of a tooth due to its abundance of blood vessels and nerves. When the hard outer layer of a tooth cracks, the tooth is no longer a single solid unit and will start to separate. This movement of parts results in the nerve of the tooth becoming irritated, which means that different temperatures are felt at a heightened level.

When dental pain isn’t going away, it’s time to talk to your Calgary Dental professional about potential causes. A cracked tooth can sometimes be saved, so don’t delay seeking help! Need help with dental pain? Contact our team at Apple Dental Group today at 403-640-4000.