Day in and day out, your teeth withstand a huge amount of chewing force and must remain structurally sound and strong to allow you to comfortably eat a wide variety of foods. Unfortunately, in addition to damage from cavities, teeth can also develop cracks and fractures that jeopardize their ability to function and lead to pain and sensitivity. Thankfully, there are multiple treatments a dentist can use to repair a cracked tooth and restore its strength, function, and appearance. Keep reading to find out more!
What Causes Cracks and Fractures?
Here are just some of the possible causes of cracks and fractures:
- Clenching and grinding (both at night and during the day)
- Large fillings that weaken the tooth
- Frequently eating tough or crunchy foods like nuts, ice, or hard candy
- Frequent extreme changes in temperature, such as when eating ice cream along with a cup of hot coffee
Signs and Symptoms of Cracked Teeth
Here’s what you may notice if you have a cracked tooth:
- Pain when chewing or biting, particularly when you open or release the bite
- Swelling of the gums around the tooth
- Sensitivity to temperature or sweet foods
- Pain or discomfort that comes and goes
How Can a Dentist Treat a Cracked Tooth?
A dentist will start with an exam to assess the type and size of the fracture. Here are some possible treatments they may recommend:
- Small cracks– These fractures include micro-cracks called craze lines and very small chips that only affect the outer layer of the tooth (enamel). Craze lines don’t usually require treatment, while small chips can often be treated with simple fillings.
- Moderate cracks– For a moderate-sized crack or a larger chip that’s damaged more of the tooth structure, a dental crown is often necessary to restore its size, shape, and strength. If the crack has reached the nerve of the tooth, a root canal may also be necessary.
- Severe cracks –A severe crack or one that runs vertically will often “split” a tooth and make it unsalvageable. In these cases, a dentist will recommend an extraction, followed by a replacement option such as a bridge or dental implant.
It’s easy to feel alarmed when you have a cracked tooth, but rest assured that a dentist can use one of these options to repair your smile and make it feel brand new again.
About the Author
With over a decade of experience, Dr. Matthew Nawrocki is a highly-skilled general, cosmetic and restorative dentist who has beautifully restored the smiles of many patients with cracked teeth. He always begins by carefully evaluating each case to make the best and most conservative recommendation possible. If you think you may have a cracked tooth or have any questions, he can be reached via his website.