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  Cracked Tooth Syndrome  

In laymen’s term, this is called a “tooth with a crack”. Cracked Tooth Syndrome is a dental problem that usually eludes appropriate treatment by professional dentists since this inconspicuous condition is not easily determined.

This condition is characterized by an incomplete fracture in a vital posterior tooth, which includes the dentine and the pulp occasionally.

CTS or Cracked Tooth Syndrome was primarily introduced by Cameron in 1964. Cameron assumed that cracked tooth syndrome occurrences are linked with its restoration size.

Importance correct diagnosis of cracked tooth syndrome

Success of this treatment relies on the dental practitioner ability to accurately diagnose cracked tooth syndrome according to his understanding of its symptoms, causes and diagnostic tests involved in this condition.

Symptom involved is a vague nagging pain that is aggravated by biting upon pressure and lessens if pressure is lifted. This is the primary clue of this condition. In would help dental practitioners if clients can further discuss their ailment to determine underlying problems since clients frequently are not aware of the exact location or tooth which causes the pain. Determining client health history also aids in the diagnosis.

X-rays are not that reliable in detecting tooth cracks since X-ray beams may be parallel to the crack to penetrate it. In other cases, radiographic shows signs of crack found besides from actual determination of a crack. In vertical root fracture cases, crack present for a long period of time will lead to vertical bone loss parallel to the root.

Thorough clinical assessment with specialized test such as ‘non-axial application of pressure to cusps’ and ‘bite tests’ in which a client bites on a piece of wood are helpful in pointing towards the problem.

Causes of cracked tooth syndrome

Before, cracked tooth syndrome was believed to be caused by filling up cavities with ‘soft gold inlays’ using a mallet.

These days, a wider prospect of its causes points to common every incidence of chewing or biting too hard like cracking a nut or from a harsh blow to a tooth. Dental practitioners preparing cavity fillings might have accidentally removed excess tooth structure. Bruxism is a habit of unconsciously teeth grinding when asleep or when under stressful situations that can lead to wear and tear of the teeth or cracked tooth syndrome.

By craze lines, fractured cusps cracked or split tooth and vertical root fracture causes a cracks on the teeth. Craze lines involves the enamel while fractured cusps, split tooth and cracked teeth will start from outside of a tooth extending towards the enamel, dentil and can involved the nerve (pulp).

Generally, longevity has increased -- so are people in keeping their teeth. And because of this, cracked tooth syndrome occurs more frequently. And with this, people are more likely to get dental procedures done like fillings and root canal therapy leaving the tooth vulnerable. Furthermore, cracked tooth syndrome occurs in people aged 30 and up.

Manifestation of cracked tooth syndrome you have to look out for are inconspicuous and confusing; it is painful upon chewing and aggravated when pressure is released, and extreme hot or cold things and sweets tingle your teeth.

Treatment of cracked tooth syndrome

Examination of the severity of a cracked tooth is the main criteria for cracked tooth syndrome treatment. If the crack is only superficial then it can be restored using a composite material after removal of the affected part. A large central crack on the tooth that does not reach the pulp or a crack tooth with a large pulp requires extensive treatment.

In treating a cracked tooth, the affected cusp is removed and a crown (cap) is placed on the tooth securing the tooth together and prevents progression of the crack. However, in cases where the nerve chamber is involved or there’s irreversible nerve inflammation, root canal procedure is needed before crown replacement.

Usually, cracked teeth can be preserved in a long term basis. Remember that a crack tooth is a compromised tooth despite proper treatment. Early determination and intervention can hinder progression of the crack. However, if this is left untreated, this can progress to the pulp causing tooth decay which needs to be extracted.

Dental practitioners should be adamant in early detection of cracked tooth syndrome and awareness of this disease in order for appropriate diagnosis and treatment to gather effective results.

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