Have you ever experienced sudden out-of-nowhere pain in a tooth while eating? Over and over again when you bite down in that same location but never anywhere else and not at any other time? Those are the classic symptoms of Cracked Tooth Syndrome (CTS).
What is Cracked Tooth Syndrome?
CTS refers to the pain you experience due to cracks and fractures in your teeth — even micro-fractures that you might not know to exist until a meal is interrupted by a sudden spike in excruciating pain. CTS has several causes, ranging from the innocent act of chewing to the effects of sleep bruxism. Sleep bruxism is characterized by unconsciously clenching your jaw and grinding or gnashing your teeth as you sleep (often without knowing it except for noticing your damaged dental work and sore jaw in the morning).
The pain you experience with CTS is caused by the movement of your tooth or pieces resulting from the fracture. Those movements irritate the nerve, causing pain. Even though the sharp pain of CTS is intermittent, don’t expect it to stop or resolve independently. It’s an early sign of damage to your tooth and will get worse as the damage worsens.
The pain of CTS is not caused by cavities directly. CTS and cavities are not the same thing. Cavities typically start on the surface of teeth, gradually getting deeper and deeper as the decay bacteria progresses into the tooth. That said, cavities and CTS have a clear and significant connection. Because of the microfractures, a cavity that might otherwise start on the tooth’s surface can start inside the tooth due to bacterial penetration. Undetected and unseen, that interior cavity can cause significant damage to the tooth’s structure.
What to do about Cracked Tooth Syndrome?
The most important step in dealing with CTS is not ignoring the pain. Don’t assume that CTS’s specifics and repeating pain are another toothache. Instead, inform our dentist near you about what you’ve experienced.
To investigate CTS, our dentist will perform bite tests, take X-rays, and even use dyes to identify any cracks otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Those approaches are necessary for our dentist to identify the damage causing your CTS. You certainly won’t be able to do it on your own.
Once the specific cause of your CTS is identified, our dentist in Edmonton will recommend solutions for the damage to your tooth. The most common options are a dental crown. However, root canal therapy in Edmonton may be required if your tooth has suffered deeper damage or more significant decay.
Many people would have stopped reading right there. Root canals have a deep but undeserved reputation for being complex and extremely painful. Thanks to constant advances in dental procedures and technologies that is no longer the case. Root canals are a painless procedure that will remove any infected material from your tooth, then seal the tooth in anticipation of a permanent crown that will restore all dental function and prevent further damage to your tooth — and prevent any more pain while you enjoy your favourite meal.
Whether sudden and alarming or chronic and tedious, tooth pain can be distracting but also much more than that. Unexplained or worsening toothache pain can indicate serious dental conditions requiring urgent attention, failing which you can experience serious health effects. For help managing and resolving sudden tooth pain caused by CTS, contact our dental clinic near you as soon as it occurs.