Cracked teeth are painful and unsightly. They also pose serious health risks. If left untreated, they can cause tooth decay, pain or even infection. What should you do if you notice a cracked tooth?
You should come in and see us as soon as possible to get it looked at.
What Is A Cracked Tooth?
A cracked tooth is a tooth whose enamel or dentine has been damaged or broken
Symptoms of a cracked or broken tooth
You may not always have symptoms when you have a cracked tooth. But when you have symptoms, the most common ones include:
- You might see a crack in your tooth.
- If your tooth is chipped, it will feel different and may even irritate your tongue or lips.
- Pain when chewing or biting, especially when you clench your teeth.
- Your tooth is sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet foods.
- A change in the colour of the tooth.
- Intermittent tooth pain that doesn’t last for long periods.
- Swollen gums around a cracked tooth.
- A different feeling about your teeth – you might feel it with your tongue or that your teeth close together differently.
What should I do if I see or feel cracks in my teeth?
If you notice a small chip or crack on one or several teeth, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong if the crack extends into the gum line onto the root of the tooth or at times it can split the tooth, this will require immediate attention. Cracks can cause severe pain, bleeding gums, and an infection if so.
Will a cracked tooth heal naturally?
In a small percentage of cases, the damage may be minimal and polishing off the sharp area can resolve the issue.
But in many cases, most cracked teeth will require some form of dental treatment like a simple filling, a band around the tooth to stabilise the crack or depending on the severity of the crack a root canal treatment may be required.
Will I lose my tooth?
That’s potentially an outcome. If you have a cracked tooth, you must get treatment immediately. Ignoring a crack in your tooth can lead to the crack extending along the surfaces of the tooth & may cause the death of the nerve, abscesses, or even the tooth splitting into two parts.
Your tooth can be so severely damaged by the crack it may need an extraction.
For the benefit of your teeth and your wallet, you must seek advice immediately if you suspect you have a cracked tooth.
Will I need to have treatment for a cracked tooth?
You will most likely need treatment to avoid further problems such as nerve damage, splitting or abscesses. Come and see us as soon as you notice issues, and we can discuss treatment options with you.
What causes a cracked tooth?
Cracked teeth are usually caused by trauma to the enamel surface from
- Biting down too hard on a piece of hard food.
- Eating foods with hard elements left in them, like stones, unpopped popcorn kernels or bones.
- You grind or clench your teeth a lot
- An old filling weakens one of your teeth, causing it to crack.
- Opening bottles or ripping open packaging with teeth – mum was right!
Seven Tips To Prevent Cracked Teeth
An accidental or unanticipated injury usually causes cracked teeth in your mouth or jaw. There may be nothing you can do to prevent them.
But there are ways you can prevent cracks from occurring in the first place. Here are seven tips to help keep your smile healthy and strong.
- Wear a custom mouthguard when playing sports. Unlike store-bought mouthguards, we make custom mouthguards to fit your mouth and provide more protection.
- Eat soft food. Hard foods like ice, hard crackers and nuts cause damage to the teeth because they don’t break easily. Instead, choose softer options like fruits and vegetables.
- Keep your lips closed. Try closing your lips around the object when you’re eating something crunchy. This helps protect your teeth from getting damaged.
- Brush regularly. Brushing your teeth twice a day is recommended to keep your gums clean and your teeth free of plaque buildup.
- Use dental floss. Flossing removes bacteria and debris trapped between teeth and under the gums.
- If you grind your teeth at night, your dental professional may suggest using a type of nightguard called an occlusal splint to prevent you from grinding your teeth.
- An uneven bite puts pressure on your tooth; it could cause cracking. You might be able to get help from modern braces, Invisalign®, or other orthodontics systems.
Types of cracked teeth
There are different types of cracks that could form in your teeth and may not need treatment. Some of these types are:
Your tooth could split into two parts. This happens when a crack starts from the tooth’s base and goes upwards towards the biting surfaces. If you don’t treat a crack in your teeth, it may go on to become a split tooth.
If a crack occurs in the chewing surfaces of your teeth, it may extend below the gum line and into the root canal system. In this case, the tooth is still intact, but the inner tissues of the tooth (the pulp) are damaged.
When the pointed parts of your teeth get damaged (by biting on a hard stone, for example), your tooth can crack. Usually, you’ll feel a sharp bite in that tooth when you’re biting down.
Tiny cracks that only impact the exterior enamel part of your tooth are called Craze Lines. They are common in most adult teeth and cause no pain. Craze lines need no treatment.
How are cracked teeth diagnosed?
A cracked tooth is not always simple to diagnose. We will look for which teeth have cracks and how the damage has travelled within the tooth by using a special illumination light that shows the lines more clearly. We will also examine the impact the crack has on the tooth itself and the surrounding gums and teeth.
Sometimes there’s a crack that is not visible but is causing symptoms like sensitivity. We may make the initial diagnosis from your reported symptoms and then examine your teeth with a magnification tool to try to find the crack(s).
When examining the mouth during an oral exam, we can check your gums for signs of inflammation that cracks in the tooth can create.
And we might get you to bite down on something like a frac finder to see if there is anything causing discomfort or to see how your teeth bite together.
We may also use the following approaches;
- Feel for cracked or uneven/rough edges on a tooth’s surface with a dental explorer tool.
- Use a dental dye on the tooth to make the crack show up
- Take an X-ray of the teeth. X-rays may not always reveal the cracks, however, they do show up any problems you might have in the pulp of your tooth which can help diagnose the crack.
What Is The Treatment for A Tooth Crack?
Different treatment options may be appropriate depending on where the crack is and its severity.
Treatments for cracked teeth include:
- Use strong resins to bond the cracks. With this procedure, we fill the gap using a resin, which restores its appearance and functionality.
- If an old filling is the cause of the crack, we can remove and replace it with a new filling. Depending on the severity of the crack, we may also use a dental crown to restore your tooth’s appearance and integrity.
- We may place a dental crown over a tooth with deep cracks or to protect your tooth after root canal treatment.
- We may need to carry out root canal treatment if the nerve inside the root of the cracked tooth has been exposed.
- If your tooth is badly damaged, we may need to remove it.
What Does It Cost To Treat A Cracked Tooth?
We will take a look to see what’s happened. This will indicate the next steps we need to take next and we will discuss that with you, we will let you know the cost of your repair treatment.
We can repair a cracked tooth with tooth-coloured resin material. The treatment costs start at $125.
If we can’t do a simple repair during your visit, we may fit a temporary repair to protect the tooth until the next appointment. Payment plans are available, ask about the different plans when making your appointment , so you can afford to treat your teeth right now and pay later.
You can crack a tooth in a number of ways. When you have the symptoms we described, you must get it investigated to understand the type and extent of the crack in case it needs dental treatment to prevent it from getting worse or having to have the tooth removed altogether.
Speak to a team member today if you’re looking for advice and treatment on cracked tooth repair, or contact us to arrange an appointment.