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Thursday, April 24, 2008

How To Recognise and Take Care Of The Cracked Tooth Syndrome!

After the huge positive response that I got from my previous article on "Emergency relief in case of a toothache" (, I thought you would appreciate a similar article on another type of toothache that is also very common but very difficult to diagnose by a dentist. This is the Cracked Tooth Syndrome!

Toothache, like I said can be very painful and excruciating and according to me is the worst kind of pain. This is exactly the kind of pain that you will experience if you have a "cracked tooth"! There are, of course, different categories of a cracked tooth. A tooth can fracture (I am speaking of "hairline" fracture) in many planes and may involve any of the three layers that it is made up of, namely; the enamel, dentin, or the pulp. The symptoms of a cracked tooth can vary from mild sensitivity to episodes of sharp and excruciating pain that lasts for some time and generally occurs when you bite on something hard or release the biting pressure on the affected tooth along the fracture line (typically)! You may also experience sensitivity in the affected tooth (locally) when you take anything hot or cold! This is different from generalized sensitivity of all teeth due to ageing. A cracked tooth can be difficult to diagnose for a dentist because of the conflicting signs and symptoms and the fact that it does not always show up in radiographs (X-rays). The tooth may have cracked due to any number of reasons like trauma, caries, old fillings, or any ill fitting prosthesis!

If the crack or fracture of the tooth only involves the enamel, then chances are that the tooth may just chip off at that area or the crack may remain as a microscopic one and you may remain unaware of its existence as there will not be any signs or symptoms. Treatment for this type of crack is only cosmetic treatment, if the tooth is chipped off or you can also leave it as it is!

If the crack involves the second layer, that is the dentin, then you will experience sensitivity to hot and cold, the severity of which may be mild to severe, depending on the type of crack and how far it extends. Generally speaking, the closer the crack gets to the pulp of the tooth the more severe will be your pain. It will occur when you bite on something hard or release pressure to the tooth. You will experience a "sudden" sharp shooting pain that will definitely make you stop whatever you are doing at that point of time! The pain characteristically lingers on for some time and then lowers in intensity and then may either stop or will continue as a dull nagging pain!

So, what do you do in case you are caught in this situation? You may rush to a dentist, the first thing, only to be told after examination of the tooth that it is perfectly fine! The dentist will take X-rays to confirm the condition of the tooth and will predictably, not find anything on it! This happens many a times, and I have personally experienced it! Remember, I said that this condition is not easy to diagnose, so don't be too harsh on your dentist either! Here's some suggestions on what you can do to help yourself in this condition.

First of all, do make that trip to the dentist notwithstanding the consequences, for at least you can be sure that there is nothing else the matter with the tooth in question! But, again, you will have to first make the appointment with your dentist, and we all know how long the "wait" can be! So, what do you do in the meantime? How do you take care of the pain and sensitivity?

# You can try taking a painkiller like brufen, paracetamol, or diclofenac sodium, etc. But, this is only to rule out any other cause of the pain. For, a painkiller will NOT be effective in this kind of pain.

# You can try applying clove oil locally to the tooth in question, and it may sooth the pain as it is a very strong obtundent!

# Try rinsing your mouth with warm saline. This may also help soothe the pain a little.

# If you have any desensitizing toothpastes like sensodent K, thermoseal RA, sensodyne, or emoform,(there are many such toothpastes available in the market to choose from)then apply this paste to the affected tooth and keep it for a few minutes and rinse softly. Keep applying this paste regularly for a period of 10 -15 days instead of your regular toothpaste. This helps to seal the exposed dentin tubules and thus reduce the sensitivity of the tooth over a period of time!

# For the time being, at least till you get to visit the dentist try to avoid eating anything hard or even to apply pressure to the tooth. So, have a soft diet. Also, it is better to avoid taking cold or hot beverages.

Normally, this should sufficiently take care of the problem, unless it is complicated further due to the presence of other factors like a old filling, or prosthesis that needs adjustment etc. Any such factors will be taken care of by the dentist!

Lastly, if the tooth is cracked and involves the pulp, then you may require either a rootcanal therapy with a crown or even extract the tooth depending on the severity and circumstances of the tooth in question. So, Do visit the dentist in case you suspect that you suffer from a "Cracked Tooth Syndrome"!

For more details on Cracked Tooth Syndrome and its treatment you can visit this site:

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