Cracked Teeth Q&A
What exactly is a cracked tooth?
A cracked tooth may not be as simple as it sounds. Cracked teeth can break in different places and at different depths. This can cause a variety of symptoms, especially pain when chewing, when the tooth is exposed to extreme temperatures, and possibly when releasing the bite.
How do I know if my tooth is cracked?
Cracked teeth show a variety of symptoms, mainly discomfort. In many cases, the pain can come and go, and the endodontist might have to take extra time in order to locate the tooth causing the discomfort. When the outer, hard tissues of the tooth, known as enamel and dentin, are cracked, chewing often causes the movement of the pieces. This movement can irritate the inner pulp. After some time, the pulp will become so damaged that it will not be able to heal itself. This is what causes the sensitivity to extreme temperature. If left untreated, the cracked tooth could begin to hurt around the clock. Severe cracks can cause infection in the pulp tissue.
How will my cracked tooth be treated?
There are several different types of cracked teeth. The treatment will depend on the type, location, and severity of the crack and includes:
- Fractured cusp- this occurs when a piece of the chewing surface breaks off, typically it does not damage the pulp. Treatment will include placing a protective crown over the tooth.
- Cracked tooth- a cracked tooth refers to when the break extends from the chewing surface down to the root. When the crack is still above the gum line, a root canal can treat the affected pulp, and a crown will protect the tooth. If the crack is below the gum line, the tooth will need to be extracted.
- Split tooth- this is often the result of an untreated, cracked tooth. The tooth has split all the way down, and the two halves are completely separate. This can occasionally be treated with an endodontic procedure but will most likely need to be pulled.
- Vertical root fracture- these cracks begin at the root and extend upward. These are usually noticed when the surrounding bone and gum become infected. Endodontic treatment can be used to repair some cases, but again it will most likely be pulled.
Understanding Cracked Tooth Symptoms and Treatment
Do you have a cracked tooth? Learn about the symptoms and how endodontists help patients avoid tooth extraction. It’s important to treat a cracked tooth quickly, so the problem doesn’t get worse.
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