A cracked tooth occurs, usually when eating something very, very hard, and it immediately elicits intense pain. This type of cracked tooth is easy to diagnose and usually involves loss of the tooth. Most cracked teeth however, develop over time from repetitive forces exerted over and over again.
Our back teeth (molars) are the most prone to fractures as they take the most chewing force. By mid-life, most molars have some craze lines visible. Most of these do not cause any concern and are usually superficial. At times, these craze lines can develop into deeper cracks, especially if a patient tends to clench or grind their teeth.
One solution to help protect teeth is to wear a night guard to bed. The night guard will protect teeth from grinding while asleep and can be very effective in keeping teeth from cracking. Other patients need crowns (caps) to cover a tooth to give it strength.
Each case is unique, but Dr. Chris is available to discuss your situation if you feel you are clenching at times.