If you are surprised to hear your dentist tell you that you have a cracked tooth, you’re in good company. Several types of cracks in teeth may not produce any symptoms. As such, minor cracks in teeth may be repaired quickly and easily with a crown or dental bonding. Other types of cracks may require more extensive treatment, including root canals or extractions. Either way, you need to have a fractured or cracked tooth fixed ASAP. Cracks in your teeth will not heal without treatment. Left untreated, a small problem can grow into a serious infection, or require extraction.
Causes of Cracked Teeth
If you’ve cracked a tooth, you didn’t necessarily do anything wrong. Cracked teeth are very common. They can result from:
- Injury or accident
- Severe teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Extremely hard foods (candies, ice, etc.)
- Loosened filling
- Severe gum disease that leads to bone loss and tooth instability
- Swift change in temperature of food you’re eating (hot soup, followed immediately by iced tea, for example)
Types of Cracks You May Develop in Your Teeth
There are several different types of cracks you may sustain in your teeth. Treatment to repair the crack will depend upon the type and severity of the fracture.
Craze lines are the least serious type of crack that can develop in your tooth. These types of cracks don’t cause any pain or other symptoms because they are very small cracks in your tooth enamel. They may not require any treatment at all.
If you have a crack in your tooth that reaches your gum line or extends below your gum line, you will know that something is wrong. This type of severe crack causes acute pain and sensitivity. The tooth may be able to be saved if the crack hasn’t yet gone below the gumline. If it can be saved, it will likely require dental bonding or a crown. You may also need a root canal.
However, if the crack extends beyond the gum line, you may need to have the tooth extracted, and receive a dental implant, or dental bridge.
A fractured cusp typically appears near a filling. Because it typically doesn’t affect the interior of your tooth (pulp), this is another type of crack in your tooth you may be surprised to learn you have. Since this type of crack generally doesn’t reach the nerves and connective tissue that make up the pulp of your tooth, you likely won’t have severe pain, but you may experience sensitivity. If the crack does reach the pulp of your tooth, you will likely need a root canal to clear out any infection.
A split tooth is a dental emergency. It results from an untreated crack that spreads and cracks the entire tooth. A split tooth will require extraction, as the tooth won’t be salvageable.
Vertical Root Fracture
A crack or fracture that begins beneath your gum line and spreads vertically up your tooth is called a vertical root fracture. In some cases, this type of crack won’t cause symptoms. But if the crack becomes infected, you’re likely to experience pain. In many cases, the tooth will need to be extracted if you have a vertical root fracture.
Treatment for a Cracked Tooth in MA
If you suspect a cracked tooth, do not delay in seeking treatment. Early intervention can often save a natural tooth, which is always preferable to extraction. At Eagle Endodontics, our experienced endodontist, Dr. Ali Sarraf provides treatments including root canals that can help to preserve teeth with some types of fractures. Contact us today to schedule a consultation for a fractured tooth, root canal, endodontic retreatment, dental trauma treatment, and more.