You’re biting down on a delicious, crunchy apple, when suddenly…
Oh no – you’ve damaged your tooth!
Whatever it’s caused by, a cracked tooth is nobody’s idea of fun and needs to be treated promptly if you want to avoid pain and prevent complications like infections and abscesses.
There are many different types of crack, and there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment option.
To figure out what kind of crack you’re dealing with and determine the best treatment option, keep reading.
Work out What Kind of Cracked Tooth You Have
Some types of crack are obvious and may have been caused by a specific event, while others are more subtle and can develop over time.
Keep reading to work out what kind of cracked tooth you have.
Craze lines are very small cracks which don’t go any deeper than the outer enamel of your tooth. Most adults will be affected by craze lines to some extent, and they’re not usually a cause for concern.
Craze lines won’t cause any pain or lead to complications, meaning they don’t need to be treated.
Has a small part of your tooth’s chewing surface broken off, leaving the rest of the tooth behind?
This is called a fractured cusp, and it isn’t usually too difficult to treat. Your dentist will assess the damage and use a filling or crown to protect the damaged section of the tooth and create a level chewing surface.
A fractured cusp will usually cause some level of pain or sensitivity and should be dealt with by a dentist as soon as possible.
Vertical Root Fracture
Vertical root fractures begin right at the root of your tooth, and slowly extend out towards the chewing surface.
Since they develop gradually, you might not notice vertical root fractures until they’re quite severe. This type of fracture can lead to infection in the surrounding bone or gum, and in some cases, the tooth may need to be removed.
If you suspect you might have a vertical root fracture, it’s smart to ask your dentist for advice right away.
Although a lot of issues might be referred to as ‘a cracked tooth,’ this term is only technically used to refer to cracks which begin on the chewing surface of the tooth and extend down towards the root.
If the crack hasn’t spread too far, it can be treated with a root canal and crown. However, if the crack has spread further than the gum line, you’ll be looking at a complete extraction.
Getting treatment as early as possible is essential if you don’t want to lose your tooth.
If a cracked tooth is left untreated for too long, it may develop into a split tooth.
This means that your tooth can be separated into two distinct halves, and at least one portion of the tooth will generally need to be removed during treatment.
To avoid a split tooth, stay vigilant and treat the early signs before they have time to get worse.
Know Your Treatment Options
Got an idea of the kind of issue you’re looking at?
Great! Now it’s time to discuss treatment options.
Keep reading to find out how your cracked tooth could be repaired, restored, or replaced.
Dental bonding is one of the quickest and easiest fixes for cracks which aren’t too serious.
It involves using composite bonding to fill in gaps, cover cracks, and repair damage. Dental bonding is often used for cosmetics reasons – for example if you have a small crack which doesn’t hurt but looks bad.
Bonding is made to match the color of the rest of your tooth, so no-one will be able to tell that you’ve had a crack repaired.
If your dentist can fix your cracked tooth with dental bonding, you’re in luck.
If you’re suffering from an abscess, infection, or bone problem as a result of a damaged tooth, there’s a good chance you’ll need a root canal.
This procedure allows your dentist to remove any infected pulp beneath your tooth, drain pus from any abscesses, then clean and enlarge the root canal. Depending on the severity of the issue, this process can take several hours.
Finally, the root canal will be filled, and your tooth will be sealed. In some cases, your dentist may also use a crown to improve the strength of your tooth.
While the root canal procedure can be time-consuming, it will restore your tooth and remove any dangerous infection.
Veneers are small, tooth-colored pieces of porcelain which can be bonded to the front of damaged teeth. They’re a good option if want to cover cosmetic damage or improve the appearance of a tooth that only has a minor crack.
Porcelain veneers are easy to place, and the procedure shouldn’t cause you any pain.
A crown is a large cap which is used to cover the top of your tooth. Crowns are often a good choice when your tooth is badly damaged due to a crack, or when a portion of the tooth is missing altogether.
You’ll still keep the healthy part of your tooth, but the crown will help to even out the surface, prevent pain, and make the tooth stronger.
Before fitting a crown, your dentist will take impressions of your tooth to ensure a perfect fit. The crown will be color-matched to the rest of your teeth so that it won’t cause any cosmetic issues.
Why Go to the Dentist for a Cracked Tooth?
When a cracked tooth is causing you serious pain, you’ll probably have no choice but to go to the dentist.
But what if a crack looks relatively minor and doesn’t hurt?
It’s still important to get a professional opinion since cracks can easily develop to the point of causing serious infections or leading to part of your tooth falling out.
Getting treatment as soon as possible could save you a lot of pain further down the line.
Want more expert advice on common dental issues? Check out our blog today.