A Cracked Tooth Is Common
The molars of your teeth are extremely vulnerable to cracks due to the fact that they absorb most of the force when you chew your food resulting in a cracked tooth. It is possible that you may not have any symptoms such as pain when you have a cracked tooth however we recommend that you make an appointment to see us right away so that we can size up the seriousness of the crack as some cracks will require treatment.
If you have any wait time in coming into our office then you will want to use some precautions when eating. Try to avoid chewing on the side of the cracked tooth. This is important because by biting on a cracked tooth, you can open the crack which can cause irritation to the soft tissue inside of the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels.
If the crack has only affected the enamel (the hardened outer layer of the tooth) then we may not suggest any treatment. The American Association of Endodontists says that “these minor cracks are relatively common in adult teeth” They are called craze lines and can be smoothed out with a simple polish.
If a cracked tooth cuts through more than the enamel then treatment must be administered to avoid things like infection or even a deeper crack. Once the crack has been evaluated, treatment could include a filling, a crown, a root canal or even a tooth removal. There are situations where we would fill the crack but still use a crown to protect the tooth from getting worse. However, if the crack has affected the soft tissue that is present inside the tooth then it might be appropriate to perform a root canal that will remove any damaged tissue. It is important to understand that a root canal is a more aggressive treatment than just a crown or a filling, but it may be needed in cases where the fracture has affected the whole tooth. In more extreme cases were the root of the tooth is damaged, the tooth must be removed.
To prevent fractured teeth from ever happening you will want to avoid biting into ice or hard candy. Also, talk to us if you have a tooth-grinding habit as this is also a known cause of fractured teeth.