While teeth are incredibly strong, they are still susceptible to being chipped, cracked (fractured) or broken due to:
- Biting down on something hard
- An impact to the face or mouth
- Having dental cavities (decay) that weaken the tooth
When a tooth is damaged, it may not hurt immediately, but the broken tooth will have been structurally weakened. You’ll usually feel the broken area quickly, as it feels sharp when you brush your tongue over it.
Sometimes the tooth looks fine, but hurts when you eat or when the temperature in your mouth changes (because you drank something hot or cold, for example). If your tooth hurts all the time, it may have a damaged nerve or blood vessels.
While minor tooth fractures usually don’t cause pain, if a large piece of the tooth breaks off, it may be extremely painful. This is due to the nerve inside the tooth becoming exposed to the air or hot or cold food and drinks. Pain from a broken or cracked tooth may be constant or may come and go but whatever the case, it must be seen by a dentist as a priority. Leaving a broken tooth to get worse can lead to serious infection, further complication, and ultimately a tooth extraction.