A cracked tooth can be caused by a number of things: a traumatic injury such as that incurred in a sports-related activity; grinding or clenching  teeth; biting down or chewing on hard objects such as ice or hard candy.

In many cases, you may not even realize you have a cracked tooth until is too late. Here are the symptoms to watch for: erratic pain when chewing food, or exposure to hot and/or cold objects, or even brushing.

What causes the pain from a cracked tooth? Inside the tooth is soft connective tissue called pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves. When the outer surface of the tooth becomes cracked, bacteria may enter the pulp causing inflamation.  The inflamation can lead to temperature sensitivity and pain to biting pressure.  Ultimately, the pulp may die and lead to the formation of an abscess.  A crack may be limited to the crown of the tooth, or it may extend onto the root surface.  Root fractures often have a poor prognosis and result in extraction of the tooth.  Use of the microscope by Dr. Lewis often allows for the detection of a crack which is not visible without the use of magnification.  Consequently, determining the extent of a crack results in the formation of a more accurate prognosis.