If you’ve got a cavity, or your tooth gets knocked out or even broken, the source of your tooth pain is obvious. Unfortunately, some dental pain is much more difficult to diagnose. One seemingly tiny problem — a cracked tooth — can cause intense pain far greater than its size would suggest.
While there are many reasons a tooth cracks, it most commonly happens when you get hit in the mouth, or as a result of clenching or grinding your teeth. Whatever the reason, the result is always the same — you experience sudden, sharp pain whenever you chew.
If you think you might have a cracked tooth, do your best to remember what area the pain is coming from when you chew, and where your teeth are sensitive to heat, cold and sweet, sour or sticky foods. This will help your dentist find and diagnose the source of your pain.
Depending on the size and location of the crack, your dentist may restore the tooth with bonding, or a crown. However, if the pulp becomes damaged or diseased because of the crack, a root canal or even extraction might be necessary. Only your dentist can determine which course of action would be best for your situation.
To prevent your teeth from cracking in the first place, always wear a mouth guard when playing sports, avoid chewing ice, nuts, hardy candy and other hard foods, avoid extreme temperatures and try not to clench or grind your teeth. And of course, visit your dentist for regular check-ups so problems like these can be caught before they become worrisome.