What to Do with a Cracked Tooth

cracked tooth

Illness Tooth. isolated background

A cracked tooth is not something that every patient will experience in their lifetime. However, a tooth fracture or cracked tooth can happen for various reasons. They can be the result of a sports injury or accident or can happen from pressure put on weak teeth. They can also come from your eating habits. The American Association of Endodontists tells us that a tooth can continue to function normally if proper dental treatment is sought early-on. We have many services to help you with your teeth whether a tooth is fractured, chipped or simply experiencing pain. Let us teach you some tips for avoiding cracked teeth and how to know the signs of a cracked tooth.


Living with a Cracked Tooth

Did you know there are different types of cracked teeth? The American Association of Endodontists reports that a cracked tooth will be different depending on the location, type and extent of the crack. You may have a cracked tooth if you experience symptoms such as:

  • Erratic pain when chewing (from the pressure of biting)
  • Pain with hot or cold temperature extremes
  • Pain that comes and goes

If you suspect you have a cracked tooth, make sure to see the dentist right away or your problem could become worse. What happens if you don’t see the dentist? When you have a cracked tooth, it hurts for a reason. The tooth is made up of a hard white layer of enamel and a soft pulpy inside. The pulp of the tooth contains the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth.


When a tooth cracks, it can cause the hard layer of enamel to move and irritate or damage the pulp. Patients will experience erratic pain that is sometimes very sharp. However, aside from just experiencing pain, the patient’s tooth pulp will become damaged overtime. Once the pulp is damaged, it cannot heal itself and the pain will continue. Because the hard outer layer of the tooth has been compromised, bacteria can then seep into the tooth center and decay it. This can cause an infection that can eventually spread to the bone and the gums surrounding the tooth. If you expect you have a cracked tooth, but aren’t sure, you should always come into the office to get checked. If we do find a crack, we have treatments to help strengthen your tooth once more.


Types of Cracked Teeth

Like we mentioned, the American Association of Endodontists tells us that there are various forms of cracked teeth. These different types depend on where the crack happens in your tooth. There are cracks in the teeth that only affect the outer enamel of the tooth. These cracks are called “craze lines” but they don’t cause anything “crazy” to happen. In fact, these lines don’t cause pain because they only affect the outer enamel of the tooth. However, take care of your tooth to ensure that this shallow crack does not become more severe.


When Cracks Are Severe

It’s important to closely watch a cracked tooth and to see the dentist right away. With many cracks, the tooth cannot be saved and infection can occur. Many cracked teeth will extend from the top of your tooth down to the tooth root in a vertical line. If a crack goes into the pulp of the tooth, irritation and infection can occur. This can be treated with a root canal treatment and a crown to cover the tooth. However, if a vertical crack extends into the gumline, the tooth is not able to be saved. If a cracked tooth goes untreated, it will eventually turn into a split tooth, where the crack goes all the way down towards the bottom of the root. In certain cases, a root canal treatment can save part of the tooth, but the tooth will generally need to be extracted.


It is possible for a tooth to crack starting at the root. Patients will not know there is a crack in the root until the surrounding bone or gum becomes infected. Root canals can help save the tooth. When it comes to a root canal, the treatment will be done and the tooth will be covered with a dental crown. If a tooth is extracted, we will install a dental implant and cover the implant with a new dental crown. The type of problem with your tooth with determine what type of crown you receive.


Dental Crowns Help Cracked Teeth

When it comes to damaged or cracked teeth, a dental crown is one of the best ways to restore strength and structure to a tooth. In the past, a dental crown was a metal cap that was put over a damaged tooth to keep it strong and protected. In modern times, we use tooth-colored porcelain crowns that blend in with the teeth. So much so, that no one will be able to tell the difference between a natural tooth and a porcelain crown. Our porcelain crowns look, feel and function just like real teeth. If you receive a root canal, you will receive a dental crown that acts like a cap for a tooth. If you receive a dental implant, you will receive a dental crown that is an entire tooth. This tooth will blend with your natural teeth. Dental crowns can be used to correct:

  • Cracked teeth
  • Badly damaged or diseased teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Dysfunctional or damaged bite
  • Inability to eat or drink normally without pain and agony


Come To See Us

In many cases, a cracked tooth results in pain when chewing or pain when the tooth comes in contact with temperature extremes. If this happens, come into the office as soon as you are able to. If you ever receive a cracked tooth, early treatment is the best way to save your natural tooth. To learn more or to schedule your appointment, call our Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies office today at (970) 223-8425.