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Cracked tooth syndrome (CTS) is a dental condition in which a partial crack extends into the dentin. It may also occur in the pulp of the tooth. This condition is when a cusp of a tooth cracks and begins flexing upon biting causing a very sharp pain. A cracked tooth hurts because this crack exposes the inside of the tooth (dentine) that has very small fluid filled tubes that leads to the nerve (pulp). Flexing of the tooth opens the crack and causes movement of the fluid within the tubes. When you let the biting pressure off, the crack closes and the fluid pressure stimulates the nerve and causes pain.

There are different types of cracks which include:

  • A craze. This is a surface crack that shows as a line on the tooth enamel. It does not need a treatment. If there are cosmetic reasons for treatment, the tooth with the crazed enamel can be treated with a veneer or bonding.
  • A fracture. This is a crack usually through the cusp of a tooth that causes part of the tooth to grow weaker and even break off. A fractured cusp usually can be restored with a crown. However, if the fracture extends into the nerve or the jawbone, then a root canal or extraction will be necessary.
  •  Then there is a split. This is a vertical crack that extends so deeply into the tooth that it can separate into pieces. Depending on the location and severity of the split, the tooth may be saved or need removal.

Cracked teeth may cause pain when chewing or biting. The sensitivity or pain can be mild or intense. It may be painful only when you eat certain foods or hen you bite in a specific way. There is no constant ache as in the case of a cavity or an abscess. The tooth may be more sensitive to cold temperatures.

If the crack widens, a piece of tooth might break and an infection may develop. This can happen in the gum near the tooth.. This is also known as fistula. It is not easy to diagnose cracked tooth syndrome because the pain is not predictable. By having regular dental checkups to monitor any emerging cracks, one can help preserve the teeth in good health.

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Dental Health Terms

by on March 29, 2012 | Posted in General dentistry

Dentists use some common terms to depict totally unrelated things thus making it difficult to understand them. The importance of being familiar with these terms is to be able to follow the dentist during consultations. This article explains a few of the common terms used by dentists.

An abscess is a common term that many dentists and doctors use to refer to an infection. The infection can be located in the tooth, a bone or any soft tissue. When there is an abscess, it is important to initially treat the infection before doing anything else to the tooth. It is dangerous to pull out the infected tooth while it is still infected. An antibiotic is usually administered in order to deal with the infection. After the infection has gone down, the tooth is abscessed by the dental health care professional to see the best thing to do with it. In many cases the infection is cleaned and then filled with composite or the rotten tooth may be extracted if it is too damaged or rotten.

Another term is pulp. It refers to the innermost nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue in the tooth. If the infection- often called pulpitis- reaches this area, pain and discomfort are certain. The pulp is located in a chamber inside the tooth. There is a procedure that extracts the pulp from the tooth which is commonly performed on children. The full removal is called pulpectomy while partial removal is called pulpotomy.

Halitosis is another common term in dentistry. It refers to the occurrence of bad breath in an individual. The origins of bad breath can be rooted in improper oral health care or gastrointestinal based. The dentist whose patient suffers from halitosis should initially find out the causes of the halitosis in order to ably recommend the right way to treat it. Gum disease may be culprit for this or some other condition in the digestive system.

Attrition is a term that depict the natural wear of the teeth causing loss of structure. Having misaligned teeth can cause uncommon but natural wear on certain teeth. Correcting the crooked teeth helps in preventing further loss of structure.

Dental caries or cavities refer to the damage or holes that are caused by the lack of proper care and hygiene in the oral cavity. They lead to rotten teeth and excessive pain and discomfort when they are severe. They are prevented by regular brushing of the oral cavity, flossing and visits to the dentist at least twice a year.

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