Cracked tooth, splitted. Medically accurate 3D illustration

Let’s Deal With That Cracked Tooth

At Vero Implants & Periodontics, our services include teeth replacement through dental implants. Before arriving at those radical solutions, we do everything possible to save the patient’s natural teeth. But, as they say, stuff happens. Periodontal disease, accidents, or simply long-term neglect result in the loss of millions of teeth each year.

For example, there is the insidious cracked tooth. If the tooth is cracked to the extent that it extends to the nerves and roots of the tooth, removing the tooth may be the only option.

Causes of a Cracked Tooth

A crack in the tooth can result from:

  • Teeth grinding and the pressure on the tooth structure.
  • Fillings that are too large and weaken tooth integrity.
  • Biting down or chewing on hard foods—ice, nuts, hard candy, etc.
  • Accidents, injuries, blows to the face.
  • Sudden changes in mouth temperature, like eating hot food and cooling off the mouth with ice water.
  • Aging (most tooth cracks occur in patients after age 50).

Degrees And Types of Cracked Teeth

Below are the types of a cracked tooth:

  • Split tooth – The crack travels from the tooth surface to below the gum line, and the tooth is separated into two segments. This crack would probably require extraction of the tooth, but the dentist might be able to save a portion of it.
  • Vertical root fracture – This begins below the gum line and travels upward. This type of crack doesn’t show much in the way of symptoms, unless infection occurs. A tooth with a vertical fracture will most likely have to be extracted.
  • Tooth crack into the gum line – If the crack has not reached the gum line, the tooth can usually be saved. However, if the crack extends to the gum line, the tooth will probably have to be removed. The best option is to get prompt treatment.
  • A fractured tooth cusp – This type of crack is located around the top of a filling. The crack doesn’t normally affect the pulp of the tooth, and it doesn’t cause much pain. The dentist can usually treat a fractured cusp by repairing or replacing the filling.
  • Craze lines – These are small cracks in the enamel. They don’t require any treatment and do not cause any pain.

Common Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth

Often the patient experiences no pain or symptoms because of a cracked tooth. When symptoms occur, however, they typically consist of the following:

  • Sensitivity to cold, heat, or sweet food and drink.
  • Swollen gums around the cracked tooth.
  • Intermittent pain that is rarely continuous.
  • Pain while chewing or biting, especially when the bite is released.

How Your Dentist Diagnoses a Cracked Tooth

Cracked teeth don’t always show up on x-rays. However, an x-ray can reveal poor teeth pulp health, which can mean a crack is present or other periodontal attention is needed. In the absence of obvious symptoms, however, your dentist can do the following:

  • Conduct a visual examination with the aid of a magnifying lens.
  • Use dental dye to make the crack visible.
  • Ask you to bite down on something to see if pain or sensitivity occurs when the bite is released.
  • Probe the gums to detect inflammation. This method is especially helpful in finding vertical cracks, which typically irritate gums.

How Your Dentist Treats a Cracked Tooth

Depending on the size, location, and patient symptoms, the dentist may treat a cracked tooth using one of the following methods:

  • Bonding – Using a plastic resin, the dentist fills the crack to restore the look and function of the tooth.
  • Dental crown – That’s a prosthetic device typically made from porcelain or ceramic. A dental crown either caps or fits over the top of a damaged tooth.
  • A root canal – Your dentist may refer you to an endodontist for root canal treatment to repair damaged pulp or the root of the tooth.
  • Tooth extraction – If the structure of the tooth, roots, and nerves are very damaged, removing the tooth may be the only option.

The Dental Implants Vero Beach Solution

If you have lost or missing teeth, reach out to us at Vero Implants & Periodontics and explore your options for dental implants in Vero Beach and Melbourne. Our dedicated staff is standing by and would love to hear from you. Contact us or schedule an appointment online today.