The Most Common Causes of Cracked Teeth

A cracked tooth can be a painful and potentially serious dental issue, causing severe tooth sensitivity, discoloration, and even infection.

Although your teeth are strong and meant to last for life, there are several factors that can cause a tooth to crack. Cracks can include vertical and horizontal cracks, each having lasting effects on your oral health.

What are the most common causes of cracked teeth?

Biting on Hard Objects

One of the most common causes of cracked teeth is biting down on hard objects such as ice, pens, popcorn kernels, fruit pits, bones, or nut shells, especially when done accidentally. The force applied to the teeth from these actions can exceed what the teeth are designed to handle, leading to cracks or fractures [1].

Trauma or Accidental Injury

Accidents happen, and they can result in cracked teeth. Impacts from falls, sports injuries, or car accidents can cause teeth to crack. If you play contact sports, wearing a mouthguard is essential to minimize the risk of accidental injuries such as fractured teeth.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can exert excessive force on the teeth, leading to cracks or fractures [2]. This condition often occurs during sleep or due to stress and can go unnoticed for an extended period. Wearing a nightguard or seeking treatment for bruxism can provide a protective barrier and alleviate the pressure on the teeth, reducing the risk of cracks.

Temperature Extremes

Rapid changes in temperature, such as consuming extremely hot foods or drinks and then immediately having something cold, can cause teeth to expand and contract abruptly.

Over time, these repeated temperature changes can weaken the tooth structure and potentially lead to cracks, especially if teeth are already weakened from another issue, such as decay [3].

You can protect your teeth from temperature damage by allowing hot foods or beverages to cool slightly before consumption and avoid consuming extremely cold items immediately after.

Damaged Dental Restorations

As dental restorations age, they can weaken or deteriorate, compromising the tooth’s integrity and making it more susceptible to cracks. Dental fillings, crowns, and veneers all need tobe maintained over the years to keep your tooth’s structure strong and intact and prevent damage to your smile.

Preventing Cracked Teeth

Preventing cracked teeth begins with a healthy smile. This includes regular brushing and flossing, wearing mouthguards during high-risk activities, and avoiding habits that put excessive pressure on the teeth, such as chewing on ice or inedible objects. If you suspect you have a cracked tooth, it’s crucial to seek immediate dental attention to prevent further damage and infection.

Never Ignore a Cracked Tooth

If you have unexplained tooth pain or sensitivity, you may have a cracked tooth. Cracked teeth may not be visible to the naked eye, but they can get worse over time with repeated biting pressure. The sooner you seek treatment, the better chance you have of saving your tooth, so don’t ignore a cracked tooth—follow up with your dentist today!

Sources:
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8694987/
2. https://newsroom.aae.org/press-releases/six-things-you-need-to-know-about-stressrelated-tooth-injuries-like-cracked-teeth/
3. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2050168420980987

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The Most Common Causes of Cracked Teeth
Article Name
The Most Common Causes of Cracked Teeth
Description
Although your teeth are strong and meant to last for life, there are several factors that can cause a tooth to crack. Cracks can include vertical and horizontal cracks, each having lasting effects on your oral health. What are the most common causes of cracked teeth?
Author
Lansdowne Dental Associates