Sometimes we’ll get a phone call from a panicked patient who says he or she has cracked a tooth. We understand the patient’s worry and concern. That jagged feeling on the edge of the compromised tooth is no fun – especially when eating.
Also read: What to Do for a Tooth Injury
When circumstances like this arise, we recommend that the patient come in immediately for an evaluation. Chances are the crack is minor, and can be fixed with a simple filling. But if the crack is more severe, a crown is highly recommended.
Here are some common types of tooth cracks and how they are treated:
Stress- Fractured Cusp – When a cusp becomes weakened by tooth grinding, a stress fracture may form. A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp. This tooth will need to be restored with a full crown
Cracked Tooth - This type of crack extends from the chewing surface of the tooth down towards the root. Damage to the pulp is common. A root canal treatment is usually necessary. A cracked tooth that is not treated will worsen, and may need to be extracted.
Split Tooth – A split tooth is usually the result of an untreated cracked tooth. The position and extent of the problem will dictate whether any portion of the tooth can be saved.
Vertical Root Fracture - A vertical root fracture begins at the root and extends towards the chewing surface of the tooth. Treatment may involve root surgery if a portion of the tooth can be saved.
There’s also what’s called Cracked Tooth Syndrome. It’s a very common problem that affects teeth that have large fillings in them. These types of large fillings can weaken the tooth structure over time, causing a hairline fracture to develop.
Tooth grinding can also increase the risk of Cracked Tooth Syndrome. Stress fractures can form on premolars and molars, which result in chipped/cracked teeth.
Also read: Top Causes of Sensitive Teeth
If you have chipped or cracked a tooth – don’t panic. Give our office a call and will try our best to squeeze you in for an evaluation. Take comfort in knowing that your situation is common and can happen to people even with excellent oral hygiene.