At URBN Dental, we understand that experiencing a cracked tooth can be concerning and painful. From minor chips to significant fractures, cracked teeth come in various forms and require prompt attention to prevent further damage and discomfort. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for cracked teeth, ensuring you’re equipped with the knowledge you need to address this dental issue effectively.

What Are Cracked Teeth?

A cracked tooth or a broken tooth occurs when the tooth’s structure is compromised, resulting in a fracture or break. These cracks can vary in severity, ranging from superficial lines on the enamel to deep fractures that extend into the root. Common causes of cracked teeth include trauma, such as biting down on hard objects, grinding or clenching of teeth, or sudden temperature changes in the mouth. You can also get a broken tooth because of dental injuries. Meanwhile, a chipped tooth is a simple hairline crack that may occur when a tooth’s chewing surface breaks.

Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth

Identifying a cracked tooth or a broken tooth can be challenging, as some cracks may be too small to detect with the naked eye. However, there are several symptoms to watch out for, including:

  1. Pain when biting or chewing: Discomfort while eating, especially when applying pressure to the affected tooth, is a common indicator of a cracked tooth.
  2. Sensitivity to temperature: You may experience heightened sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages, as the crack allows temperature changes to reach the nerves within the tooth.
  3. Intermittent pain: Cracked teeth often cause sporadic pain that comes and goes, making it difficult to pinpoint the source of discomfort.
  4. Visible damage: In some cases, you may be able to see visible signs of damage, such as a chip or fracture along the tooth’s surface. If you notice a split tooth, you may have a vertical root fracture, which necessitates immediate treatment.
  5. Gum inflammation: Tooth cracks that extend below the gum line can lead to inflammation and tenderness in the surrounding gum tissue.

Diagnosing a Cracked Tooth

Diagnosing a cracked natural tooth typically requires a comprehensive dental examination, which may include:

  1. Visual inspection: Your dentist will visually inspect the damaged tooth for any visible signs of damage, such as cracks, chips, fractures, or a vertical root fracture.
  2. X-rays: Dental X-rays can help detect cracks that are not visible to the naked eye, particularly those that extend beneath the gum line or into the tooth’s root.
  3. Use of diagnostic tools: Specialized instruments, such as dental probes or magnifying loupes, may be used to identify cracks or test the tooth’s responsiveness to pressure.

Types of Cracked Teeth

Cracked teeth can manifest in various forms, each requiring different treatment approaches. Common types of cracked teeth include:

  1. Craze lines: Superficial cracks that affect only the outer enamel and do not typically cause pain or require treatment.
  2. Fractured cusps: Cracks that affect the chewing surface of the tooth, often resulting from trauma or large fillings.
  3. Vertical root fractures: Cracks that extend from the root of the tooth upward toward the chewing surface, often causing significant pain and requiring prompt intervention.
  4. Split tooth: A split tooth is a severe fracture that divides the tooth into distinct segments, compromising its stability and function. This often necessitates a root canal or dental implant.

Treatment Options for Cracked Teeth

The appropriate treatment for a cracked tooth depends on the severity and location of the fracture. At URBN Dental, we offer a range of treatment options to address cracked teeth effectively, ranging from a root canal to a dental implant and more.

  1. Dental bonding: For minor cracks and chips, tooth-colored composite resin can be applied to the damaged area to restore the tooth’s appearance and function.
  2. Dental crowns: In cases of more extensive damage, a dental crown may be recommended to cover and protect the remaining tooth structure, preventing further fractures.
  3. Root canal therapy: If the crack extends into the tooth’s pulp tissue, root canal therapy may be necessary to remove damaged tissue and alleviate pain.
  4. Dental implants: In cases where a cracked tooth cannot be saved, dental implants offer a permanent solution for replacing missing teeth and restoring oral function.
  5. Cosmetic contouring: Minor cracks and chips can often be smoothed out through cosmetic contouring, improving the tooth’s appearance and reducing the risk of further damage.
  6. Tooth extraction: In some cases, saving cracked teeth, especially if the crack extends below the gum line, may be impossible. This may necessitate a tooth extraction.

Preventing Further Damage to Your Natural Tooth

Once a cracked tooth has been treated, it’s essential to take steps to prevent further damage in the future. This may include:

  1. Avoiding hard foods: Minimize your consumption of hard or crunchy foods that can increase the risk of tooth fractures.
  2. Wearing a mouthguard: If you grind or clench your teeth, wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard can help protect your teeth from damage while you sleep.
  3. Regular dental check-ups: Schedule routine dental visits to monitor the health of your teeth and address any issues before they escalate into more significant problems.

See A Dentist for Cracked Teeth

If you suspect you have a cracked tooth or are experiencing any symptoms mentioned above, it’s crucial to seek prompt treatment and see a dentist immediately. Ignoring a cracked tooth can lead to further damage, infection, and even tooth loss. At URBN Dental, we’re committed to providing comprehensive care for all your dental needs, from routine cleanings to emergency treatment for cracked teeth and other dental emergencies. Don’t let cracked tooth syndrome compromise your oral health and quality of life. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step toward preserving your smile for years to come.