Family, Orthodontic & Implant Dentistry


Family, Orthodontic & Implant Dentistry

Cracked Tooth

Cracked and fractured teeth are common dental problems. As people retain their natural teeth longer (due to advances in dental technology), the likelihood of cracked tiles increases due to biting on hard objects, trauma or grinding/clenching which all place extra strain on them rendering them more susceptible for cracking.

Tooth enamel is a vital layer of protection for teeth. If it cracks, the pain can become debilitating and infection may set in quickly without treatment - resulting not only with an increased risk of extracting infected material but also leading to irreversible damage on nerves close by which causes permanent tooth loss or sensitivity.

Symptoms of a cracked tooth may include:

  • Unexplained pain when eating.
  • Sensitivity to warm and cold foods.
  • Pain with no obvious cause.
  • Difficulty pinpointing the location of the pain.

What kind of cracks can affect the teeth?

There are many ways in which a tooth can be cracked. The specific type of crack will determine what kind of treatment is viable for it, with options ranging from root canal therapy and leaving natural teeth intact when necessary all the way up to extraction if need be.

Here is a brief overview of some of the most common types of cracks:

  • Crazes – These are generally tiny vertical cracks that do not place the teeth in danger. These scratches on the surface of the teeth are considered by most dentists to be a normal part of the tooth anatomy. A craze rarely requires treatment for health reasons, but a wide variety of cosmetic treatments can be performed to reduce the negative aesthetic impact.
  • Oblique supragingival cracks – These cracks only affect the crown of the tooth and do not extend below the gum line. Usually, the affected part of the tooth will eventually break off. Little pain will result, because the tooth pulp (that contains the nerves and vessels) will remain unaffected.
  • Oblique subgingival cracks – These cracks extend beyond the gum line and often beyond where the jawbone begins. When a piece breaks off, it will usually remain attached until the dentist removes it. Oblique subgingival cracks are painful and may require a combination of periodontal surgery (to expose the crown) and endodontic treatment to place a crown or other restorative device.
  • Vertical furcation cracks – These cracks occur when the roots of the tooth separate. This type of crack almost always affects the nerve of the tooth. Because the tooth will not generally separate completely, root canal therapy and a crown can usually save the tooth.
  • Oblique root cracks – These cracks tend not to affect the surface of the tooth at all. In fact, the damage is only apparent below the gum line and usually below the jawbone. Root canal therapy may be possible, depending on how close the fracture is to the tooth surface. However, extraction is almost always the only option after sustaining this classification of fracture.
  • Vertical apical root cracks – These cracks occur at the apex (tip of the root). Though the tooth does not require extraction from a dental perspective, many patients request an extraction because of the high degree of pain. Root canal therapy alleviates the discomfort for a while, but most often, teeth affected by such cracks are eventually extracted.

How are cracks in the teeth treated?

There are many different types of cracked teeth. Some can only be exposed using X-ray machines, while others are clearly visible to the naked eye and need more extreme treatments like root canal therapy or dentures in order restore them back into proper condition for eating food properly again! The end goal with all these procedures is that your dentist will have given you enough time so they don't become an issue anymore - but no matter what kind it may end up being there'll always come a point where progress has been made because something wasn’t working before which allowed us fixate upon one area too long.

The dentist will extract the tooth when it's too damaged for restoration. There are several restorative options available, including bridges or implants that can restore function of chewing and speaking once again.