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Everything You Need To Know About Cracked Teeth

Everything You Need To Know About Cracked Teeth

One of the most common types of dental injuries experienced by so many people every year is having a cracked tooth. It is so common that many people don’t even realize they have a cracked tooth and often times do nothing about it.

A cracked tooth is defined as having a partial or incomplete fracture of one or more layers of a tooth (enamel, dentin and/or pulp). Most tooth cracks experienced are minor and require no treatment whatsoever, however, other types will require some sort of treatment to ensure that further complications are not experienced.

Woman with cracks on her teeth

In this article we will explore different variations of tooth cracks that are common and what types of treatments and pain relief advice there is for anyone who experiences one of these variations.

Variations of tooth cracks

Craze Lines

By far the most common and unnoticeable tooth crack type is craze lines. These are tiny and shallow hairline fractures that do not penetrate past the tooth enamel, causing no harm and no symptoms. Most people that have this type of tooth crack won’t even realize it.

In order to restore a tooth with craze lines, cosmetic contouring can be performed which is essentially polishing of the tooth to make it smooth once again.

Chipped Tooth

Another extremely common type of tooth crack, and also considered the most common dental injury, is a chipped tooth. A chipped tooth is technically when a piece of a tooth physically breaks off, usually caused by grinding the teeth, a blow to the mouth or when you bite on a hard object.

A chipped tooth can be minor if it only occurs to the enamel layer, but can also be more severe if the chip transcends into deeper layers of the tooth. In this scenario some sort of treatment will be required to ensure further complications do not arise.

Trauma and Nerve Damage of injured tooth, Permanent Teeth Injury.

You will most likely notice if your chipped tooth has affected the dentin or pulp layer of the tooth if you feel sensitivity in the chipped tooth, especially when exposed to extreme temperature shifts. If you are unsure of the severity, you should consult a dentist who will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

Cosmetic contouring can be performed on a minor chipped tooth to restore the tooth to a smoother form. Another treatment option for a larger chip is tooth bonding which requires attaching a resin or other tooth filling material to the ship in order to make the tooth appear whole again.

Cracked Tooth

This is a more severe type of crack which should be treated as soon as possible once it is diagnosed. A cracked tooth is diagnosed when there is a tooth fracture that extends from the chewing surface of a tooth down to the tooth root.

If it is not treated right away a cracked tooth can turn into a split tooth which occurs when the tooth physically splits into two pieces. When this happens the internal pulp layer of the tooth becomes exposed causing a lot of sensitivity. If not treated right away an infection to the dental pulp can easily occur which will require more advanced treatment such as a root canal and possibly even tooth extraction.

Most often, a split tooth will not be capable of being fixed and will require a dental crown or cap to be placed in order to restore functionality to the tooth.

Cracked Cusp

The cusp of a tooth is the pointed portion at the top of molars and canines. Sometimes one or more cusps can crack when put under pressure causing a fracture that is usually not of much concern. If, however, the fracture extends beyond the enamel and reaches deeper layers of the tooth some dental treatment may be required.

Vertical Root Fracture

This type of tooth fracture is one of the least common and also one of the most difficult to diagnose. A vertical root fracture is when the root of the tooth cracks and eventually extends up the tooth toward the chewing surface. Because the root fracture first occurs at the root, it is almost impossible to see, making it near impossible to diagnose.

xray to diagnose a tooth root fracture

This type of tooth crack is very difficult to restore and will usually require either for the entire tooth to be extracted, or for the crack root portion to be removed in the case of multi-rooted teeth.

Pain Relief Tips For Cracked Teeth

When you have a cracked tooth that extends into the inner layers of a tooth, some pain and sensitivity may be experienced. Here are some quick tips to relieve these unpleasant feelings in the tooth:

  • Refrain from consuming food and drinks that can irritate the cracked tooth. This includes hot, cold, sugary and acidic food and beverages.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to wash away any built up acids and bacteria in the mouth
  • Use clove oil to dab the affected tooth. This acts as a natural antiseptic killing off bacteria while also numbing the area around the tooth.