Cracked Tooth Syndrome Demystified
Cracked teeth have now become a new plague of modern dentistry. In the past, amalgam was the material of choice to fill cavities. Amalgam is a mixture of mercury and other metals; in fact, it is considered to be one of the strongest filling materials. Unfortunately, being strong is not the only criteria that we look for when it comes to filling a cavity. One of the unfavourable characteristics of amalgam is its’ thermal expansion. Dental amalgams expand and shrink at a higher rate than the tooth with temperature changes over time; therefore, this leads to crack formation. They are normally painless when they are on the surface, but once propagated further will results in a fracture, and possible loss of the entire tooth. Treating broken teeth is clinically challenging and depends on the direction and the extent of the crack. Unfavorable cracks are the ones that result in vertical fracture of the tooth, extending beyond the gum line making them virtually un-restorable. Treatment choices depend on the extent of the crack. Often the extent of the damage is only evident once the existing filling is removed. Crowns are most commonly used for management of cracked teeth to encircle the entire tooth and protects it from further damage.