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"hairline" crack in upper molar?



Feb 11, 2009
hiya all
i have what feels like a crack very close to the gum line on an upper molar (one of the big fellas about 2 from the back) this tooth is quite prominent and larger than its equivalent on the other side. I have been told that due to grinding my gums have receeded a bit on this side - would this explain why this tooth is larger than the others...or do you just get big random teeth sometimes ..? i always thought your mouth was kinda symmetrical? anyway i've been bothered with a lot of sensitivity in this tooth and i thinks that on account of the crack on the outside (cheek) side. I mentioned this at my first appt and i'm sure the dentist said what i was feeling was tartar ?- i cant quite remember, will ask him again at my next appt.

I have since had 2 hygienist appts and am due to have another one in 6 weeks as i hadnt seen a dentist for 6 years there is a lot of scaling to be done although both the dentist and hygienist said my teeth are in pretty good shape.
The hygienist said to me that the dentist had noted some signs of localised gum disease but he never mentioned this to me (perhaps to save my embarassment...)
so anyway i'll get to the point...

1> Does grinding cause gum disease and if so will this make teeth appear larger?
2> How is localised gum disease treated and what can i do to improve oral hygiene?
3> I am due to be measured for a splint due to my grinding - will this alleviate the pressure on my bite and slow down gum disease?

Many thanks for reading and i would welcome any advice you have.
thanks for your reply Annie. I have been flossing daily and improving my oral care. My gums used to bleed terribly but since seeing the hygienist this has improved which i'm pleased about. I have gone from not seeing a dentist in 7 years to becoming very vigilant about my teeth as i want to avoid any further treatment - god knows what state my teeth would have been in if i hadnt plucked up the courage to get back in the chair (so to speak) last november. Thanks also for your advice on the nightguard. xx
The crowns of the teeth are formed well before they erupt into the mouth so grinding would have no effect on their size. Although usually similar in shape and size, there always is some variation in anatomy so the size is most likely due to genetics.

Grinding can aggravate and contribute to the progression of gum disease. If excess forces are created on the teeth, that can affect the bone surrounding them. It's difficult to say what the "crack" on the side of the tooth is, but it might be abrasion which could explain the sensitivity. Sometimes these spots can be desensitized or covered up with a filling.

Local areas of gum disease are treated with dental cleanings and proper home care. If it is severe, a referral to the periodontist can help. You can have your oral hygiene methods reviewed and keep up with your brushing and flossing.

The splint may help with the grinding and reduce wear and stress in the teeth.