Cracked teeth are the 3rd leading cause of tooth loss in adults below dental caries and periodontal disease. Sometimes this is due to the severity of the crack itself and sometimes this is due to the patient being unaware their tooth is even compromised. In case of the latter, patients will allow a small crack to get progressively worse until it is in pain, inflamed, and potentially too far gone to heal.
What are these cracks and how do we fix them? Depending on your situation it might be easier or more challenging than you originally thought. Keep reading to learn more.
Types of Tooth Cracks
Dental cracks can range in severity from surface imperfections to serious and painful ailments that require an extraction. As always in the world of dentistry, early awareness is your best protection. See below for the types of cracks you should look out for and the treatments available if you suffer from one.
- Craze Lines: These superficial cracks affect only the tooth’s enamel. Normally, craze lines present as thin, vertical, small cracks running along the tooth.
Treatment: The least severe crack, craze lines normally do not require treatment.
- Fractured Cusp: These cracks normally appear around a dental filling. Normally, they do not extend into the tooth and as such, do not cause pain.
Treatment: Depending on the severity of this crack, your tooth can either be refilled to provide support, or, you can elect for a crown.
- Cracked Tooth: There are two types of true cracked teeth you can experience– one is treatable and the other is not. Here, a crack travels the length of the tooth, either stopping at or before the root of the tooth, or, continuing down. If the crack reaches the root, there is no way to mend the surance of the tooth to fix the problem. Typically, all forms of these more severe cracks can cause pain and intolerance to hot or cold foods and create daily discomfort.
Treatment: If the crack has not reached below the gumline, a crown or root canal can help save the natural tooth and help relieve pain. Should the crack extend down into the pulp of the tooth, you will likely need a tooth extraction.
- Split Tooth: Here, the crack extends below the gum line, into the pulp of the tooth, effectively severing the tooth in half.
Treatment: Due to the severe nature of this crack, the damaged tooth is commonly removed completely.
- Vertical Root Fracture: These cracks travel in the opposite direction, starting at the root of the tooth and traveling upwards. While these fractures may not cause pain initially, they can lead to an eventual infection.
Treatment: If vertical fractures become problematic, they are unfixable and must be extracted.
- Chipped Tooth: Chips are when a portion of the tooth is cracked off, leaving an often unsightly snag in its place. While chips are most common on the front teeth, they can realistically occur anywhere in the mouth.
Treatment: Fixing chipped teeth is mainly about restoring the aesthetic and functionality to the mouth. For this, a tooth colored filling is bonded to the tooth to fill the space left behind by the injury.
Does Treatment Heal My Tooth?
Unlike bones, there is no way for a tooth to heal itself back to its original state. This is why catching as early as possible is integral to mending and patching the natural tooth.
Protecting Your Teeth
Stopping a problem before it occurs is usually the only way to avoid dental repairs as, unlike our skin or even our bones, the teeth cannot heal themselves. As such, it’s necessary to protect our teeth from potentially damaging activities. We recommend the following:
- Do not eat overly hard foods, such as unpopped popcorn kernels
- If you clench or grind, use a mouthguard at night
- Wear a mouthguard and any needed headgear when participating in contact sports
Family Dentist in Mesa Arizona
Experiencing a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth is a common dental problem many will experience at some point in their lives. Without regular dental care however, these cracks can go unnoticed and persist until they are a painful, sometimes irreversible problem.
While we like to be a source of information for anyone researching on the internet, East Valley Dental Practice has made its home in Mesa, Arizona. Established in the 1980s, we take great pride in having local clients who receive the best dental care and the best service.
If you are in Arizona, don’t hesitate to give us a call at: 480-838-3033 so you can speak to a professional who can help answer your questions or set up an appointment to get a consultation. We are only one call away from a healthier smile.