A cracked tooth can be a painful and alarming dental problem. It can happen due to various causes, such as biting on hard foods, grinding your teeth, trauma, or aging. Depending on the type and severity of the crack, it may or may not affect the pulp of the tooth (the soft inner tissue that contains nerves and blood vessels). A cracked tooth can also lead to infection, inflammation, and tooth loss if left untreated.
In this article, we will explain the different types of cracked teeth, the symptoms they cause, and the treatments available. We will also answer the question: Will a cracked tooth eventually fall out?
Types of Cracked Teeth
Not all cracks are the same. Some are minor and harmless, while others are serious and require immediate attention. Here are some common types of cracked teeth:
Craze lines. These are tiny cracks in the enamel (the hard outer layer) of the tooth. They are usually cosmetic and do not cause any pain or sensitivity. They do not require any treatment.
Fractured cusp. This is a crack that occurs around a dental filling or a root canal. It usually does not affect the pulp of the tooth and does not cause much pain. It can be repaired with a crown or a new filling.
Cracks that extend into the gum line. These are cracks that run vertically from the chewing surface of the tooth to the root. If the crack has not reached the gum line, it may be possible to save the tooth with a root canal and a crown. However, if the crack extends below the gum line, it may be necessary to extract the tooth.
Split tooth. This is a tooth that has split into two or more pieces due to a severe crack. It is unlikely that the entire tooth can be saved, but sometimes a portion of it can be preserved with a root canal and a crown.
Vertical root fracture. This is a crack that starts from the root of the tooth and goes upward. It often does not produce any symptoms until the tooth becomes infected. It usually requires extraction of the tooth.
Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth
A cracked tooth may or may not cause symptoms. Some of the possible signs of a cracked tooth are:
Pain when chewing or biting, especially when releasing the bite
Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks
Swelling of the gum around the affected tooth
Toothache that comes and goes
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. A cracked tooth can worsen over time and lead to more serious problems, such as infection, abscess, nerve damage, and tooth loss.
Treatment for a Cracked Tooth
The treatment for a cracked tooth depends on the type and extent of the crack, as well as your symptoms and preferences. Some of the possible treatments are:
Bonding. This is a procedure where your dentist applies a tooth-colored resin material to fill in or cover up the crack. It is a simple and inexpensive way to restore the appearance and function of a minor crack.
Crown. This is a cap that covers the entire visible part of your tooth. It is made of metal, porcelain, or ceramic material that matches your natural tooth color. It is used to protect and strengthen a moderately cracked tooth that has not damaged the pulp.
Root canal. This is a procedure where your dentist removes the infected or damaged pulp from your tooth and fills it with a rubber-like material. It is then sealed with a filling or a crown. It is used to treat a severely cracked tooth that has affected the pulp or caused an infection.
Extraction. This is a procedure where your dentist removes your entire tooth from its socket. It is used as a last resort when no other treatment can save your tooth or when you prefer not to undergo other procedures. It may be followed by a dental implant, bridge, or denture to replace your missing 06063cd7f5