Don’t Do Crack – 5 Causes of Cracked Teeth

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Don’t Do Crack – 5 Causes of Cracked Teeth
Don’t Do Crack – 5 Causes of Cracked Teeth

At Credit River Dental Centre we treat our patients like family and in doing so we always want to ensure we can provide the best dental services possible.   As your Mississauga dentist, we know that prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Like everything in life it’s about choices and despite doing our best to try and prevent problems from happening, we know this is not realistic. Just about everything we own, if it is used on a regular basis, will at some time or another, need to be repaired and in some cases even replaced. Consider very expensive car like a Mercedes which spends most of its time sitting in a garage, the owner would be ecstatic if no repairs were needed, even for 5 years.  So it should come as no surprise that our teeth that are put through their paces almost 24/7 in many cases are susceptible to breakdown at one time or another.

In many cultures we eat at least 3 times a day not including snacking. When we’re not eating we might be chewing gum, a pen, fingernails or even an ice cube. Then maybe we give them a sugar bath while sucking on a lollipop or a mint for 20 minutes. And just when we think it’s time to rest our teeth by going to sleep, we grind them until they’re sensitive and flat like table tops or clench them until they break. And when teeth break depending on HOW they break, that will determine how we repair them. And despite all of the abuse our teeth take, they often times remain amazingly resilient.

When we have stressed our teeth beyond their breaking point however, we suffer cracked and in some cases fractured teeth. Cracked teeth however are not always easy to see or diagnose and not all cracks that we DO see the need to be treated. What are the major causes of cracked teeth?

Here are the top 5 causes of cracked teeth:

1. Bruxism – This is just a fancy word for tooth grinding and also includes tooth clenching. There are many reasons a person clenches or grinds which include but is not limited to:

  • Stress and anxiety – to learn more about bruxism and what you can do to protect your teeth, click here.
  • Breathing disorders during sleep such as sleep apnea – to learn more about sleep apnea, click here.
  • Genetics – if your parents grind, there’s a good chance you will grind.

2. Habit of chewing objects that are not food. Things such as finger nails, pens, bottle caps and ice cubes are notorious for breaking and chipping teeth

3. Not getting a root canal treated back tooth crowned. Because of the way a root canal is performed, a hole must be placed on the top of your tooth, large enough to access and remove the diseased tissue and because back teeth have more nerves, the holes tend to be larger. This will weaken the tooth. Often times teeth that need root canals already have an even larger restoration in place even before the access hole is placed and was likely the reason the tooth required the root canal in the first place. A crown on the back teeth will keep the tooth together and keep the remaining tooth structure from falling apart. Here is a tooth that had a root canal but the patient declined having a crown placed:

4. Large fillings especially if they are silver. Large silver fillings we are learning, act much like nails hammered into a piece of wood. Over time, nothing happens to the nail but you will start to see small cracks in the wood forming around the nail. The same thing happens to teeth with large silver fillings. The filling acts like a wedge between the remaining tooth structure which can eventually split the tooth.

5. Oral piercings such as tongue or lip rings. If these are placed where the patient can habitually bite them, especially if they are studs, eventually your teeth can chip or at least wear down very quickly.

As mentioned earlier, cracked teeth can sometimes be very difficult to diagnose if there is nothing visible and cracks usually do not show up on an x-ray. Classic symptoms of a cracked but not fractured tooth include biting pressure sensitivity and cold sensitivity and these can progress to the point of requiring a root canal by introducing bacteria if the crack reaches the nerve. If the crack progresses even beyond that, there is a possibility the tooth will require extraction and replacement.

Providing the best dental treatment is not only about treating our patients but also about providing the right guidance.  If you are suffering from any pain or discomfort from biting or cold foods and would like us to take a look, give Credit River Dental in Port Credit Mississauga a call at (905) 278-4297, email us at or book an appointment by clicking here.