Most people are surprised to learn that their teeth endure tons of pressure every day. The total pressure of one bite can be as much as 5600 pounds per square inch. Yet, our teeth hold up extremely well. When a tooth is weakened in some way, then it can crack.
Cracks form under a variety of circumstances. The expansion and contraction of large, silver amalgam fillings over the years can weaken the tooth structure. This can cause a tooth to suddenly crack or break. Extra pressure exerted when grinding and/or clenching teeth can weaken a tooth. An injury caused by an accidental fall or trauma to the mouth can cause damage. There is also the weakening that comes as a result of aging.
Diagnosing a crack in a tooth is not as straightforward as you may think. Occasionally, it is only the symptoms that indicate a problem. Some cracks are not readily visible or discovered on x-ray images. Discomfort caused by pressure on the tooth or letting up from a bite can signal a problem. Pain caused by the various temperatures of foods and beverages can also indicate a problem. When you experience such discomfort, it is important to see a dentist right away. Determining the cause of your irritation with general dentistry early may prevent a more serious problem later.
When discovered early, your cracked tooth has a better chance of survival. Neglecting it allows the parts of the tooth to move more under pressure. Eventually, the nerve of the root could become irritated, causing more problems. Saving a cracked tooth depends on where the crack is located and if it extends below the gum line.