Teeth are durable, but they’re not indestructible. In fact, chewing on hard objects or grinding your teeth can cause painful cracking. The type of treatment you pursue, and whether tooth extraction is necessary, depends on the type, location, and extent of the crack.
If you suspect a cracked tooth, learn more about your condition here. Then, visit Dr. Evanson’s office in Parker for help treating and hopefully saving your cracked tooth.
Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth
Pain is the most prominent symptom of a cracked tooth. You might experience erratic pain when you bite down or when you release biting pressure. Hot and cold temperatures may also cause pain.
Cracked teeth hurt because the usually protected inner part of your tooth, called the pulp, is irritated when cracked portions of your teeth move against it. The tooth’s nerves are located here, which send pain signals to your brain as they’re bumped or exposed to temperature extremes.
In the early stages, a cracked tooth may only cause pain while chewing, but in time, it may begin to hurt constantly. Extensive cracks can allow bacteria to enter the pulp tissue, which may cause an infection that spreads to the bone and gum tissues. This is why you shouldn’t ignore symptoms of a cracked tooth!
Treatment for Different Types of Cracked Teeth
The treatment Dr. Evanson may recommend for your cracked tooth depends on the type, location, and extent of the crack. Here are the most common types of cracked teeth and the available treatment options:
- Craze lines: Tiny cracks that only affect the outer enamel layer of your tooth are called craze lines. These are very common in adult teeth and cause no pain. No treatment is necessary, but you may wish to pursue cosmetic dentistry for aesthetic reasons.
- Fractured cusp: Sometimes, a piece of a tooth’s chewing surface break offs. This occurs most often around a filling. Fortunately, fractured cusps rarely damage the pulp and don’t usually cause pain. Still, Dr. Evanson can repair the damage by replacing the filling or placing a dental crown over the damaged tooth to protect it.
- Cracked tooth: A classic cracked tooth is one with a split extending from the chewing surface down toward the root. Early diagnosis and a speedy root canal procedure are critical for saving the tooth before the crack extends below the gum line. Once this happens, the tooth can’t be saved, and you’ll need to have it extracted.
- Split tooth: An untreated cracked tooth can develop into a split tooth, which has cracked completely in half. The entire tooth can’t be saved intact, but depending on the position of the crack, a portion of the tooth may be preserved. A crown over the removed portion of a split tooth restores its appearance and functionality.
- Vertical root fracture: Sometimes, teeth crack from the root upward. Minimal symptoms may cause the problem to go unnoticed until the bone and gum tissue become infected. Extraction is the most common treatment, though endodontic surgery may be able to save the non-fractured portion of the tooth.
Is Treatment for a Cracked Tooth Permanent?
Most treated cracked teeth provide pain-free chewing for many years. However, unlike broken bones, cracked teeth don’t heal themselves. Sometimes cracks continue to progress, even after treatment is performed, making tooth extraction necessary. Fast treatment and dental crowns offer the best protection against this.
How to Prevent Cracked Teeth
To make your teeth less susceptible to cracks in the future, follow these tips:
- Don’t chew on ice, pens, unpopped popcorn kernels, and other hard objects.
- Don’t clench your teeth. If you grind your teeth in your sleep, a mouth guard can help protect your smile.
- Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports.
Get Treatment for Your Cracked Tooth at Evanson DDS
Our knowledgeable dental team offers cosmetic and restorative treatment options for cracked teeth. If it turns out you need a tooth extraction, we can perform the necessary steps to eliminate your pain and restore your smile.
For questions about your cracked tooth, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Evanson, please call our Parker office today at (720) 409-0008.Leave a reply →