East End Dental Wellness

Cracked Teeth

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Your teeth can be cracked from excessive clenching, grinding, chewing hard food, or from an injury. The damage isn’t always visible, but they can cause erratic pain when chewing or sensitivity to hot and cold liquids.

Types of Cracked Teeth

There are many different types of cracked teeth. The treatment and outcome for your tooth depends on the type, location, and extent of the crack.

Craze lines are small cracks on the outer surface of the enamel. They are very common to see on adult teeth. Craze lines don’t cause pain and there’s no need to treat or worry about them beyond their appearance.

The cusp refers to the pointed part of your tooth’s surface that is used for chewing. It can become damaged and weakened, in which case it may break off on its own or we may remove it purposely. Either way, it can be fully restored with a crown procedure and rarely requires a root canal.

A tooth that is cracked vertically from the chewing surface toward the root will often need root canal treatment due to damaged pulp. A crown is typically required to restore and protect the cracked tooth. If the crack extends all the way to the gum line, extraction may be required.

A split tooth refers to a tooth with a crack so prominent that the tooth can be separated into distinct segments. Occasionally, a portion of the tooth can be saved, though a split tooth usually results in extraction.

A vertical root fracture starts at the root of the tooth and extends up toward the surface of the tooth. These fractures often go unnoticed because they display little symptoms until the surrounding gum and bone become infected. Most of the time, vertical root fractures result in extraction. Though we may attempt endodontic surgery if part of the tooth can be realistically saved.

Preventing Cracked Teeth

Regular check ups with the dentist are crucial to the health of your teeth. If we diagnose a crack early enough, it could be saved, but if it goes untreated for a long period of time, you will most likely lose the tooth. The next best thing you can do to prevent cracked teeth is to practice good habits and avoid the following:

  • Chewing hard things like ice, pens, etc.
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Playing sports without a protective mouthguard
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