A cracked tooth can result from chewing on hard foods, grinding your teeth at night, traumatic injury, or even as the result of the natural wear and tear your teeth go through as we get older.
The type of crack in your tooth/teeth will dictate your treatment plan.
Cracks generally fall into the following categories:
- Craze lines- Super-fine cracks in the surface (enamel) of the tooth. Craze lines cause no pain and do not require any treatment.
- Split tooth- A crack that extends from the tooth’s surface to below the gum line. Usually considered a very severe crack. Unfortunately, it is unusual that the entire tooth can be saved. Your dentist will do everything they can to preserve as much of the natural tooth as possible.
- Vertical root fracture- This crack starts below the gum line and works its way upward toward the crown of the tooth. Although vertical root fractures do not generally produce any symptoms, it is a serious crack and the tooth will most likely need to be extracted.
- Fractured cusp- These cracks are usually found around a dental filling. Most of the time the pulp inside the tooth is not impacted and is not usually that painful.
Symptoms of a cracked tooth.
As noted above, not all cracked teeth produce symptoms. However, when symptoms do present, they can include:
- Pain when biting and chewing.
- Sensitivity to hot or cold.
- Pain that comes and goes.
- Swelling around the affected tooth.
Treatment is dependent on the type and severity of the crack, where it is located, and your symptoms. Treatment options include:
- Bonding- Using a tooth-colored resin to fill the crack.
- Crown- A prosthetic device that fits over your damaged tooth to cap it and restore structural integrity and function.
- Root canal- When the crack extends into the pulp (the fibrous center of your tooth), a root canal may be necessary to clean out the infected pulp.
- Extraction- Always the last resort of your dental team, sometimes it is crucial for your overall oral health to remove a severely damaged tooth.
Talk to your dentist today about your symptoms to receive a diagnosis and to determine the best course of action for you. We are happy to walk you through your options and treatment plans.