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Coping with Cracked Tooth Syndrome

Older Man With Mouth PainIf there’s anything good to be said about a broken tooth, it’s that the cause of the problem is pretty obvious. The same can’t always be said when a tooth develops a crack, which are sometimes too small to even be seen with the naked eye. In fact, researchers have compiled case histories to develop a “cracked tooth syndrome” profile.

Who? The potential for crack rises with age. Past 40, enamel tends to grow brittle partly due to reduced moisture. The tooth itself is less resistant to stress, and teeth that have numerous cavities or support large existing restorations are more liable to crack.

Where? Molars are prime candidates, thanks to the stresses these “nutcrackers” face daily. But other teeth can develop fractures that intersect the pulp chamber and challenge the tooth’s vitality.

How? The most common cause is “masticatory accident”—chomping down on a hard foreign object. Chances grow if you stress your teeth with bad habits, like ice chewing.

When? Diagnosis of cracked tooth syndrome is notoriously difficult because it can be present in an apparently normal, cavity-free molar. Often, pain emanates from the entire “mouth area,” not from any specific tooth. Several instruments exist for fracture detection but one of the most effective is transillumination—lighting the tooth from behind makes cracks visible.

Treatment? We have the means to protect a cracked tooth and eliminate the discomfort they can cause. Each fracture is unique and requires a different treatment response, so diagnosis is critical. A crown to surround and support the tooth may be the most reasonable choice.

About Dr. Jayson A. Chalmers

Jayson Chalmers was raised in Placerville, CA and graduated from El Dorado High School. He received his undergraduate degree in Anthropology from U.C. Berkeley. He went on to receive his dental degree from the University of California, San Francisco. After practicing as an associate dentist in Napa, CA, Dr. Chalmers returned to Sacramento to be closer to friends and family. He began practicing in his current location in January 2005.   Knowing that patients want to have the best options and treatment available to them, Dr. Chalmers has completed many hours of advanced educational training in general, implant, orthodontic, and cosmetic dentistry. He continues to learn and incorporate many of the latest dental technologies in his practice. Through the use of intraoral cameras, digital x-rays and computer imaging he can immediately show and explain all treatment options to the patient.   Dr. Chalmers is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, the Sacramento District Dental Society, the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation and is involved in local dental study groups. Dr. Chalmers also is an active participant in Smiles for Kids, where free dental services are provided to local children in need.   Dr. Chalmers and his wife, Desirae, are the parents of Ella and Ava. They are an outgoing family and are very involved in the Arden-Arcade community. As a family, they enjoy tending to their chickens and organic garden, splashing around in the pool and traveling to beachside locations. Dr. Chalmers personal interests include camping and fishing and watching and playing most sports.

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