Cracked teeth demonstrate many types of symptoms, including pain when chewing, temperature sensitivities, or even on the release of biting. It is also common for pain to come and go, making it more difficult to diagnose the cause of discomfort.
Chewing can cause movement of the cracked pieces of your tooth, and the pulp within the tooth becomes irritated. At the same time, when biting pressure is released, the crack can close quickly, resulting in sharp pain. Eventually, the pulp will become damaged and tooth will consistently hurt, even when you are not chewing. It is possible that cracks can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gum surrounding the problematic tooth.
Types of Cracks
1. Craze lines
These are tiny cracks that only affect the outer enamel of the tooth. These cracks are more common in adults. These types of cracks are superficial and are usually of no concern.
2. Fractured Cusp
When a cusp becomes weakened, a fracture may result. The cusp may break off or be removed by a dentist. A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp, so root canal is not necessary. Your dentist will usually restore the tooth with a full crown.
4. Split Tooth
Split tooth - tooth has split off below the gum line
A split tooth is usually the result of an untreated cracked tooth. It can be identified by a crack with distinct segments. This type of tooth can never be saved intact. Yet, the position and extent of the problem will dictate whether any portion of the tooth can be saved. If your tooth is unable to be saved, your dentist will discuss with you the best alternative to replace your own natural tooth; a dental implant.
3. Cracked Tooth
Cracked tooth - vertical fracture
This type of crack extends from the chewing surface of the tooth and vertically migrates towards the root. In some cases, the crack may extend below the gum line. It is possible for the crack to extend further into the root. Damage to the pulp is commonplace. In this case, root canal treatment is usually necessary. A cracked tooth that is not treated will worsen, resulting in the loss of the tooth. Therefore, early detection is essential.
Will my tooth completely heal?
Unlike a broken bone, the fracture in a cracked tooth will never heal. In spite of treatment, some cracks may continue to progress and get worse, which may result in complete loss of the tooth. Placement of a crown on a cracked tooth is essential as it provides maximum protection, however it does not guarantee success in all cases.
The treatment you receive for your cracked tooth is important because it will relieve pain and reduce the likelihood that the crack will worsen. Once treated, most cracked teeth continue to function for years to come. However it is common that patients describe that their tooth is different in its ability to function exactly the same way that it had before or like other teeth in their mouth.
5. Vertical Root Fracture
A tooth can be healthy and last a lifetime with good care after root canal treatment.A vertical root fracture begins at the root and extends towards the chewing surface of the tooth. Unfortunately, they show minimal symptoms and may go unnoticed. Treatment involves endodontic surgery if a portion of the tooth can be saved by removal of the fractured root. Otherwise the tooth will have to be extracted. A dental implant would be your best alternative to your own natural tooth.