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What is meant by a broken tooth?
A tooth that is cracked is a tooth that is considered broken.
If teeth crack will it always be in the same way?
No. Cracks in teeth can develop in several different ways:
- A cracked tooth: When a crack runs from the biting surface of the tooth down towards the root this is described as a cracked tooth. This kind of crack may sometimes extend below the gum line to the root. A cracked tooth will not normally split into two but the inner soft tissue of the tooth will usually be damaged.
- The Craze line: These are described as tiny cracks that are affecting the outer tooth enamel only. They are relatively common in all adult teeth and will not cause pain and need no treatment.
- A cracked cusp: The cusp is what we call the pointed part of the biting surface of the tooth. If a cusp is damaged, the tooth is liable to break and there might be a sharp pain in the tooth when you bite.
- A split tooth: This will often occur if a cracked tooth is left untreated. The result is that the tooth concerned will split in two. Cracks that start in the root and continue up towards the biting surface of the tooth are called vertical root fractures.
What makes teeth crack?
Many things can cause a tooth to crack, some of these are:
- Excessive tooth grinding that puts teeth under a lot of pressure
- Large fillings that can weaken the tooth
- Biting on something hard like ice, fruit stones, boiled sweets, or other hard substances
- An injury to the lower jaw or chin
- Gum disease can give rise to bone loss that can make the teeth more likely to develop root fracture
- Sudden changes - extreme hot or cold in the mouth
How will I know if I have a cracked tooth?
Signs can be difficult to spot initially and symptoms might vary. There might be occasional pain when you chew food that might be worse when you release the biting pressure. Extreme temperatures, especially very cold substances taken into the mouth, might also feel uncomfortable. You might be sensitive to very sweet things even when there are no signs of decay. Also there may be swelling in a small area of the gum near to the tooth that is affected.
If the pain becomes severe, you can take pain relief of the type you would use for a headache. If you are already on medication then you should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking pain medication.
Why don't tooth cracks show up on a dental x-ray?
Dental x-rays don't always show that there is a cracked tooth because the x-ray beam would need to be parallel to the crack before it would be able to penetrate it and show it up.
However there may be other signs that there is a crack in a tooth. In the case of a vertical root fracture, if the crack has been established for long enough, there might be vertical bone loss near to the root and that will show up. Your dentist might utlilise a bright light or even a magnifying glass to identify the crack or may use a special dye to trace the line of the crack.
Will a crack like this need treatment?
Yes. It is very important to see a dentist as soon as you can so that any treatment will be more effective. Left untreated, the nerve in a tooth with a crack might die and an abscess might develop. The tooth might need more complicated root canal treatment or it might even have to be extracted. In some severe cases a tooth will actually split in two and if this happens the tooth cannot be saved and you will lose it. At Dentists Near Me we can help you by finding someone to help with a cracked tooth at a location convenient to you.
How will a cracked tooth be fixed?
The approach to treatment will depend on the amount of damage there is to the tooth. Your dental team will discuss the treatment that is best for you:
- Bonding Treatment: A plastic resin is used to fill in the crack repairing small chips off the biting edge of the tooth. Bonding will also restore the shape of the chipped tooth.
- Cosmetic contouring treatment: Suitable for a very small chip where rough edges of the tooth are blended, rounded and polished.
- Veneer treatment: This is a good treatment when there is still a fair amount of the tooth left. Veneers are durable and require the least amount of tooth to be removed first. A thin layer of porcelain or plastic material (the veneer) is fitted over the front surface of a tooth.
- Treatment with a crown: A crown is used for a tooth that is not suitable for treatment with a veneer. A crown will be fitted over the remains of the tooth and that will make it strong and will give it the appearance of a natural tooth. If the nerve is damaged and infected root canal treatment might be necessary before treatment with a crown to remove all the infection from the root canal. The root will be cleaned and then filled to prevent further infection. The tooth will be fitted with a crown for added support.
After my cracked tooth treatment, will my tooth be completely healed?
A crack in a tooth, unlike one in a bone, will never heal completely and in fact, after treatment, a crack may worsen and could still be lost. It is still important that you go for treatment, because cracked teeth can often work well for many years after treatment. Your dental team will recommend what treatment you need.
How can I stop my teeth cracking?
Not always although there are some precautions to take:
- Wear a mouth guard: If you are someone who grinds your teeth at night, a night-guard can be made to protect your teeth. If you play sports, you should also wear a mouth guard.
- Avoid biting or chewing on hard foods or other substances and never open a bottle with your teeth!
How much will my treatment cost?
The cost of this kind of treatment will vary depending on what you need. If there are complications and you need more treatment it may cost more. Always ask for a treatment plan and a written estimate from your dentist before you start any treatment. Dentists Near Me have all the dental professionals in your area for you to choose from.