When a tooth is cracked, it’s often best to protect the tooth by placing a crown. This is especially true for cracks that are located next of fillings because these can easily break. It broke along the crack, and half of the tooth snapped off.
A cracked tooth:
- Hurt when you chew
- Sensitive to hot and cold
- Sometimes a cracked tooth that should be treated may have no symptoms at all.
On the other hand, some teeth look cracked, but may not be a problem. This kind of hairline crack is called a craze. They occur over time in the enamel layer of the tooth, and may not require immediate treatment. To determine if a crown is right for your situation, we’ll do a thorough examination, which typically includes x-rays. However, x-rays may not reveal the crack, so we may analyze your bite to isolate the problem. There are several types of crowns, and of your tooth needs one, we’ll talk with you about the best kind for your situation.
It’s important to evaluate and treat cracks as soon as possible because they can grow quickly. If they reach the nerve, root canal therapy may be required, and if they extend to the root, the tooth may need to be extracted.
Restoring a cracked tooth with a crown is often the best choice to protect your tooth and prevent it from breaking.
Cracked Tooth Syndrome.
Crack Tooth Syndrome is a term we use to describe the recurring discomfort, sensitivity, or pain in a tooth, caused by an incomplete fracture or crack.
You may realize that you have cracked tooth syndrome if you find yourself:
- Chewing on only one side of your mouth
- Sensitive teeth to hot or cold temperatures, or sweet or sour foods
- Sharp pain when chewing or the pain you feel is intermittent rather than constant.
Teeth can crack for a number of reasons, one is that they endure a tremendous amount of pressure from biting and chewing every day, and as teeth age, they may lose some of their original strength.
The heavy stresses of clenching and grinding, as well as chewing on ice, unpopped popcorn, hard candy, and other hard objects, can also weaken teeth. Teeth also lose strength when tooth structure is lost, as with large fillings or root canal therapy. And finally, teeth can crack due to an injury or accident.
To diagnose cracked tooth syndrome, we’ll do a thorough examination. Since tooth fractures are almost always invisible to the naked eye, the exam typically includes x-rays. However, x-rays may not reveal the crack, so also we may analyze your bite to isolate the problem. Once we’ve identified the fractured portion of your tooth, the treatment we’ll use depends on the location and direction of the crack, as well as how extensive the damage is. Some cracks affect only the outer enamel layer of your tooth, in which case we’ll remove the affected portion and restore it with a crown or only to stabilize the tooth and protect it from further damage. But if the crack affects the deeper dentin or pulp layers, the tooth will need root canal therapy before we place the crown.
In rare cases, the crack extends all the way through the tooth and under the bone, and there is no way to restore it. In this case, we must remove the tooth and talk with you about your options for replacing it. Fortunately, with early diagnosis and treatment, most cracked teeth can be saved and your healthy smile restored.