Jaw clenching and teeth grinding, often referred to as bruxism by dentists, can cause significant damage to your teeth. Whether you clench and grind during the day due to stress or at night involuntarily, the results can be devastating to your teeth.

One possible outcome is cracked tooth syndrome in which your teeth suffer numerous small cracks, often too small to see, that can result in dental sensitivity, accelerated decay, and even a broken tooth.

Do You Have a Cracked Tooth?

In cracked tooth syndrome, the hard but brittle enamel of your teeth have responded to stress by developing numerous small cracks, which are so small they may not be visible, but that doesn’t mean they’re insignificant. You may experience:

  • Sensitivity when chewing
  • Sensitivity in one or more teeth, often dependent on biting a certain way
  • Temperature sensitivity

The degree of pain and its duration are highly variable. One thing that distinguishes this pain from what you experience from a cavity or infected tooth is that the pain isn’t spontaneous, it’s associated with biting. If you have sleep bruxism, you may wake up with pain in your tooth or teeth. If you have daytime bruxism, you may notice that pain increases with your stress level. The pain may also coincide with jaw pain in the muscles due to clenching.

Cracked Tooth Problems

Initially, your cracked tooth may not seem like a major issue. People can cope with minor pain that comes and goes when biting into hard food, in the morning, or with periods of stress.

However, cracked tooth syndrome can develop into other problems, including:

  • Uneven staining
  • Advanced decay
  • Infected tooth
  • Broken tooth

Initially a minor problem, it may become an emergency situation if neglected.

Preventing Future Cracked Teeth and Other Problems

Repairing a cracked tooth is only part of the solution to cracked tooth syndrome. Excessive tooth wear and cracked tooth syndrome are often caused by a bad bite. Adjusting your bite can protect your other teeth and ensure that your restorations don’t suffer the same damage as your natural teeth.

If you think you have developed cracked tooth syndrome, please call (803) 781-9090 to schedule a consultation with a neuromuscular dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry in Columbia, SC.