A cracked tooth is something that is not uncommon to many of us. According to the survey of the Cracked Teeth Registry organized by the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network, about 66.1% of the 1962 patients evaluated had at least one cracked molar.
A tooth or a part of it can be cracked because of several reasons such as dental injury, daily wear and tear, chewing on hard foods, teeth grinding, abrupt changes in the temperature inside the mouth, and old age. The pressure brought by these conditions weakens the integrity of the tooth, resulting in a crack. If not treated right away, it can even lead to tooth loss.
What are the different types of a cracked tooth?
A cracked tooth doesn’t just dampen your smile, but it can also reach your dentin and cause more dental problems. A cracked tooth comes in different types such as the following:
- Craze lines
Craze lines are very small cracks in the tooth enamel that may still be unnoticeable with visual observation. It typically has no symptoms either.
- Fractured cusp
Fractured cusp usually happens in the chewing surface of the tooth and around a dental filling. It doesn’t show any symptoms either, as it still doesn’t affect the pulp of the tooth.
- Cracked tooth
A cracked tooth is a vertical break that extends towards the tooth’s root and may even reach the gumline. It is important to have this treated to save the tooth before it could lead to tooth extraction.
- Split tooth
The crack in a split tooth starts from the surface and travels down below the gum line. As the name implies, the crack has already progressed and split the tooth in two pieces.
- Vertical root fracture
A vertical root fracture is a type of cracked tooth that begins in the root of the tooth and moves up towards the chewing surface. It doesn’t show any symptoms until it has affected the surrounding bones and gums.
What are the symptoms of a cracked tooth?
Though there are times when a cracked tooth does not show any symptoms, most individuals with a cracked tooth may experience the following:
- Pain when biting or chewing
- Tooth sensitivity
- Toothache that comes and goes
- Redness and swelling of the gums around the cracked tooth
- Moving teeth especially when chewing
If you experience these symptoms, you might like to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will be able to diagnose a cracked tooth through visual observation using a magnifying lens. You may be asked about your dental history, as well as let you chew hard foods and grind your teeth. A dental X-Ray may be required to determine the poor tooth pulp.
How is a cracked tooth treated?
Treatment for a cracked tooth depends on the severity of the condition. Most craze lines are generally harmless and don’t necessarily need treatment. However, with the other types of a cracked tooth, a treatment should be needed to prevent further problems.
Bonding is a dental procedure that uses a plastic resin to fill in the crack. It also uses a high-intensity curing light along with a special adhesive to restore the look and function of the tooth. Another dental treatment for a cracked tooth is the use of dental crowns. These are artificial caps made of porcelain or ceramic that are fitted over the damaged tooth. When the crack is extensive, your dentist may suggest root canal or tooth extraction. If you’re looking to fix your cracked tooth or teeth, contact us at Centreville Dentistry.