A cracked tooth not only hurts but can also lead to tooth loss without prompt and correct treatment. Teeth—and enamel in particular—are fairly durable. However, chronic physical stress, accidents, and outright carelessness can cause breakage. Luckily, dentists can make most cracked teeth good as new.
Types of Cracks in Teeth
As with bone fractures, teeth cracks can occur in different parts of the tooth and in different ways. Each requires a different approach.
- A true crack is a vertical fracture. The crack may extend only through the chewing surface or down into the root. If the crack progresses, it may result in a completely split tooth.
- A vertical root fracture affects only the root. Such a fracture is not visible and may not even cause symptoms. Untreated root fractures, however, can lead to gum and bone infections.
- A fractured cusp occurs when a piece of the visible tooth breaks off. (Cusps are the projections on the chewing surface of canines, premolars, and molars.)
- Craze lines are painless surface cracks that do not affect tooth health.
Repairing a Cracked Tooth
A dentist or endodontist manages each type of crack differently. Craze lines do not require any treatment, unless for appearance’s sake. A fractured cusp may require removal of the broken piece, followed by a crown for protection.A vertically cracked tooth may be repaired with a root canal treatment; however, a severe crack may indicate extraction of the entire tooth. For split teeth and vertical root fractures, surgery is typically required, but again, extraction may be called for.
Always consult your dentist as soon as possible if you suspect a cracked tooth. Early diagnosis and treatment could save at least a portion of the tooth. If you enroll in a membership with EDP Dental Plan, you will save up to 70% off of regular dentists’ fees and get a significant discount on specialists’ fees. Call 631-272-5230 or enroll online today.