Fact or myth? Can extreme temperature changes cause your teeth to crack?


This old wives tale has been told by mothers around the world to scare children away from ice cream for generations. This is one thing you don’t have to worry about with your teeth. Teeth are built to absorb changes from hot to cold and cold to hot. It’s possible that if your teeth were exposed to non-ingestible temperatures, such as dry ice, they would crack, but you’d also have a lot of other problems to go along with that. The normal temperatures that humans consume and are exposed to daily will not cause teeth to crack, making this, a myth.

On the other hand, small cracks in teeth are common. These surface level cracks are known as craze lines and are generally symptom free. Craze lines are small cracks in the most superficial layer of the tooth. These cracks are common in adult teeth and are just a symptom of aging and using our teeth for longer periods of time. Most people won’t even know that they have these cracks unless they look at their teeth with just the right light. Craze lines are just a symptom of getting older and should not cause any symptoms or discomfort.

Alternatively, a tooth that has a deeper, more defined crack will cause pain. The discomfort of a cracked tooth is often erratic and not localized, making it hard to find out which tooth is cracked. These deep cracks often show no signs of physical damage, but your dentist should be able to help you find them. These kinds of deep fractures can be prevented by protecting teeth while playing sports, not grinding teeth, and not chewing on hard foods or materials such as pens, ice or unpopped popcorn kernels.

See your dental provider if you think you have a cracked tooth.

Even though extreme temperatures won’t crack teeth, it’s possible for temperature changes to have an effect on silver or amalgam fillings. These fillings, which are silver in appearance, are an issue because the material expands and contracts depending on the temperature it’s exposed to. When done repeatedly, this can cause the filling to crack and need to be replaced.

Just remember, if you love drinking coffee with your ice cream, you don’t have to worry about cracked teeth. If you do think you have cracked tooth, early diagnosis is very important. Be sure to consult with your favorite local dentist.

About Mark C. Marchbanks, D.D.S.

Dr. Mark Marchbanks has practiced dentistry in Arlington Texas since 1983. He enjoys caring for patients young and old. You can find Dr. Marchbanks on
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