Cracked Tooth Syndrome Demystified

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Cracked teeth has 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 certain metals, in fact it is the strongest filling material compared to its alternatives. Unfortunately, being strong is not the only criteria that we look for when it comes to fill a cavity. One of the unfavorable nature of dental amalgams is their high coefficient of thermal expansion. Dental amalgams expand and shrink at a higher rate than the tooth with temperature changes over time; therefore, this leads to cracks 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.