What are the Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth?

Debra Durkee
Debra Durkee
A cross section of a tooth.
A cross section of a tooth.

The symptoms of a cracked tooth can be very similar to those of a cavity, but the absence of the tooth decay of cavities is itself one of those symptoms. Along with a painful sensation while chewing and a newly acquired sensitivity, changes in the feeling of the teeth are one of the biggest indicators that there is something wrong. Individuals who experience these symptoms, especially while eating hot, cold, or sticky foods, should visit their dentist.

Chewing on hard candy can crack the teeth.
Chewing on hard candy can crack the teeth.

Cracks in the teeth sometimes can't be seen by the naked eye. Some hairline cracks are not even visible on x-rays, so relying on symptoms for a diagnosis can be one of the only ways to determine if a tooth has been cracked. Often, the symptoms of a cracked tooth are not present all the time, as symptoms of gum disease or impacted teeth are. Abscesses or cavities often bring with them an ache that is constant, while a cracked tooth is typically only painful in certain situations. This includes eating extremely cold or hot foods, chewing in a certain area of the mouth, or chewing sticky foods.

Pain while chewing is one symptom of a cracked tooth.
Pain while chewing is one symptom of a cracked tooth.

Some teeth are more likely to crack, including those that have had cavities filled with silver. When the pain is localized around one or more of these teeth, a crack is highly likely. Having suffered from previously cracked teeth makes a person more susceptible to another; some of the most common causes include grinding teeth and habitual clenching of the jaw, which will increase the pressure on all teeth and make them all vulnerable to cracks. Eating hard objects like candy, ice, or nuts can also crack teeth, and continuing to do so will reveal the localized pain that develops from the cracks.

Hairline cracks in teeth are sometimes no visible on an x-ray.
Hairline cracks in teeth are sometimes no visible on an x-ray.

Many cracks are tiny, and when there are symptoms but no visible cause, it's likely that they are from a minuscule crack. A variety of special dental tools such as dyes and lights can be used to search for these cracks, but diagnosis can still be difficult. Many people can be hesitant to go to the dentist because of the intermittent pain, but there should be no doubt that pain, intermittent or otherwise, is a sign that something is wrong. The sooner a cracked tooth is diagnosed, the more likely is it to be fixed before the damage becomes severe.

Discussion Comments

ZipLine

@burcidi-- I also have a cracked tooth from teeth clenching. You need to wear a mouth guard. That's the only solution for that. They also make toothpastes for sensitive teeth.

ddljohn

@anon263477-- Can you actually see that it chipped?

If it's causing you pain, you should see a dentist, they can do cracked tooth repair. They will basically fill in the chipped part. Otherwise, if it's not causing pain or discomfort and you can bite down on it without problems, you don't have to do anything.

If you have pain and can't get to the dentist right away, you can apply some vanilla extract or clove oil on it. It will relieve the pain for some time.

burcidi

For the past several weeks, I've been experiencing pain in my right jaw, especially when I bite down. I've also noticed a sensitivity and a slight toothache when I drink cold or hot beverages.

I do have a history of teeth grinding. Could this be a cracked tooth? If that's the case, what's the treatment?

anon263477

I was eating a packet of crisps and my molar tooth chipped a lot and now I don't know what to do.

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    • A cross section of a tooth.
      By: Andrea Danti
      A cross section of a tooth.
    • Chewing on hard candy can crack the teeth.
      By: Bert Folsom
      Chewing on hard candy can crack the teeth.
    • Pain while chewing is one symptom of a cracked tooth.
      By: detailblick
      Pain while chewing is one symptom of a cracked tooth.
    • Hairline cracks in teeth are sometimes no visible on an x-ray.
      By: Georgiy Pashin
      Hairline cracks in teeth are sometimes no visible on an x-ray.
    • If a tooth cracks, it's wise to consult a dental professional if toothache pain persists.
      By: Eléonore H
      If a tooth cracks, it's wise to consult a dental professional if toothache pain persists.
    • Teeth are more likely to crack if they have silver fillings.
      By: Jeremys78
      Teeth are more likely to crack if they have silver fillings.
    • Mouth guards are often used to prevent people from grinding their teeth.
      By: deeaf
      Mouth guards are often used to prevent people from grinding their teeth.