Fractured Cusp – Solutions, Preventions, Treatments

Excerpt: Trauma, tooth decay, and teeth grinding (bruxism), can all be potential reasons for breaking the cusp (point) of a tooth.
Table of Contents

Trauma, tooth decay, and teeth grinding (bruxism), can all be potential reasons for breaking the cusp (point) of a tooth. 

What Is A Fractured Cusp?

Cusps are the main points of impact for your teeth since they stand out on the surface of the tooth. Molars have the most cusps (usually 4 or even 5), and they do the most work, if you do break a cusp, it is usually a molar. Injuries or tooth decay are the primary reasons for breaking cusps. Sometimes it does not have to be a significant impact, you may even have accidentally bit down too hard, or around your teeth, which can result in a fracture. 

If you do experience a fractured cusp, you will want to make an appointment right away. The fracture will most likely produce a sharp edge that can cut your tongue or cheeks and it may be prone to an even greater facture. 

Why Do Cusps Fracture (Break)?

There are some common reasons as to why the points on your teeth break, here are the most prevalent:

Severe Decay

The best offense is a good defense. If you have great oral care you will prevent a significant amount of damage and other ailments that can impact your oral health. A decayed tooth can be prone to breaks as cavities will erode enamel, causing them to weaken over time. 

Teeth Grinding And Jaw Clenching

Teeth grinding (bruxism) and jaw clenching can often happen in times of stress, or as a coping mechanism if the body is experiencing pain. Sometimes it can even happen without your knowledge. Nighttime bruxism can be diagnosed by the dentist, as they will see the impacts of it on your teeth. If you are prone to bruxism as a stress-coping mechanism, you should take care of the stressful aspects of your life so you do not injure yourself. If it happens to be nighttime bruxism, you may want to sleep with a custom mouthguard. 

Trauma (Injury)

Sometimes trauma is out of our control, natural disasters, car crashes, falls, etc. However, if you are involved in physical sports, or activities that can cause injuries fairly easily like skateboarding, dirt biking, weightlifting, etc. wearing a custom mouthguard is definitely recommended as these activities can cause you to wreck, or even lose your teeth.

Significant Restorative Work

If a dentist has to do a lot of work on a tooth, they may recommend a crown, root canals for example can make a tooth vulnerable, even though they are needed to heal it. If a tooth isn’t reinforced and protected after the dental work, you may fracture it accidentally.

Biting Into Tough Or Sticky Food

Eating hard sugary candies, nuts, or other foods like this can cause breaks because they are tough to chew through. You can also break your teeth if you happen to bite into the bone too hard when eating meat. If you do eat these foods, you will want to be careful and chew with teeth that you know are healthy. If you have teeth with cavities or serious dental restorations, you may want to avoid using these teeth or those foods entirely.
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Is A Broken Tooth Painful?

Breaking a tooth can be incredibly painful, and it can make the nerves incredibly sensitive depending on which tooth you broke. If you break one of the teeth located at or near the front of the mouth, you are much more likely to experience pain, as they are smaller teeth and have less protection. If you break a molar, you may not feel the initial fracture at all due to the teeth being bigger and having more enamel. However, you will most likely feel the difference in the tooth afterward as any change in our mouth is usually quite noticeable, no matter how small. 

You may also feel like you are chewing on gravel or sand, this is the enamel that broke off. Anytime you break a tooth, you will want to get it fixed immediately. A broken tooth is much more likely to break even more in the future. The sharp edge after the break can also cause cuts in your mouth. These cuts are not only painful but may leave you vulnerable to infection.
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