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El Portal Dental Blog


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Do you have a cracked tooth?

Sometimes it is hard to tell if a tooth is cracked.  If you have pain, you may also not be able to tell which tooth hurts.  Cracks sometimes are invisible to the eye and may not show on an x-ray.  Your dentist will discover it during the exam.

A tooth that is cracked can be painful.  It also can lead to disease of the tooth.  How do you know if you have a cracked tooth?  Look for these signs:

  • Sharp pain when biting down that quickly disappears

  • Pain that comes and goes

  • Pain when eating or drinking

  • Feeling that something is stuck between your teeth

  • Or you may have no signs of symptom at all

Why does a tooth crack?

It can be one of these many reasons:

  • Chewing on hard objects

  • An accident

  • Grinding or clenching of teeth

  • Uneven chewing pressure, especially if a nearby tooth is missing

  • Loss of tooth structure through wear

  • Loss of tooth structure due to large fillings or other restorations

  • Exposure of tooth enamel to extreme hot and cold temperatures

Why does a cracked tooth hurt?

A crack in the enamel travels through to the nerve pulp.  This type of cracked tooth may hurt when you bite down or when you stop biting.  The crack may be too small to see, but when it opens, the pulp inside the tooth may become irritated.  The pulp is soft tissue inside the center of the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels.  If the crack extends into the pulp, the tooth may become sensitive to extreme heat and cold. 

How is a cracked tooth treated?

Treatment depends on the size, location and direction of the crack, as well as your symptoms.  Your dentist will discuss the treatment and will recommend the best treatment plan to you.  Types of treatment can be:

  • Repairing the tooth with fillings

  • Placing a crown (cap) on the tooth to protect it from further damage

  • Endodontic (root canal) treatment if the pulp is involved

  • Extracting the tooth if it is severely cracked and cannot be saved

Regular dental checkup is important because they let your dentist diagnose and treat problems at an early stage.  A cracked tooth can become a bigger problem if left untreated.  If you think you may have a cracked tooth, give El Portal Dental Group a call at 209-385-1479.  We will make sure you are taken care of.



A good and healthy mouth requires a great care to your teeth which include regular brushing, flossing and regularly seeing your dentist every 6 months.  Our dentists at El Portal Dental Group often recommend our patients to change their toothbrush (if you use power toothbrush to change the head) every three months.  This is not simply to sell more toothbrushes but it is to help our patients keep their teeth in good condition.  Here are the reasons:

1.       Frayed bristles:  With repeated uses, the bristles on the toothbrush become frayed and don’t effectively clean the plaque off your teeth.  The frayed bristles can’t reach all the nooks between your teeth.

2.       Cuts: The old toothbrush with frayed bristles can become sharp.  These sharp edges can cut into your gums which potentially can lead to infection.  The germs from the infection can enter into your bloodstream.

3.       Bacteria: The moisture of an old toothbrush makes an optimal environment for bacteria to grow.  By using the toothbrush, you are introducing unwanted bacteria into your mouth.

4.       Reinfection: If you have a cold or flu, the germs will remain on your toothbrush.  When you are not sick anymore, the remained germs on your toothbrush can cause a new outbreak again.