Cracked teeth are becoming more common. Dentists are helping people to keep their teeth longer, which means that teeth are exposed to more years of chewing hard objects, clenching and grinding. Cracks typically do not show on x-rays, making them more difficult to locate. Depending on the severity of the crack, symptoms may include a momentary sharp pain when chewing, temperature sensitivity, or even the release of biting pressure.
Early diagnosis is very important. The sooner the crack is detected and treated, the better the chance of saving your tooth. Our experience, training and use of modern instruments can be invaluable when a cracked tooth is suspected.
Types of Cracks
A fracture may result when the pointed part of the chewing surface is weakened. Often a full crown, placed by your dentist, resolves the problem. However, if the fracture has also damaged the pulp, root canal therapy would be needed.
This type of crack begins on the chewing surface of the tooth and extends vertically toward the root. Damage to the pulp is likely and root canal treatment is usually necessary. Despite treatment (root canal treatment and crown placement), some cracks can continue to progress, resulting in a loss of the tooth. Therefore, early detection is essential.
Vertical Root Fracture
This type of crack begins at the root of the tooth and extends toward the chewing surface. It often shows minimal symptoms and may go unnoticed for some time. Vertical root fractures are often discovered when surrounding bone or gum tissue become infected. If the tooth can be saved, treatment would involve endodontic microsurgery.