Dental cracking comes in many forms. Some of these cracks are minor, mostly cosmetic problems. Others are more serious and may lead to major tooth damage or even tooth loss.
Minor dental cracking is common in people with a bad bite. The small cracks in your enamel appear as vertical lines in your teeth. They are called craze lines, and they can become a major cosmetic problem because they accumulate stains.
More major dental cracks can be related to trauma, an imbalanced bite, or both. If your teeth experience major trauma, part of the tooth can crack off. Your teeth can also develop cracks because of an unbalanced bite that puts excessive force on one or a few teeth. These stress cracks can make your teeth more vulnerable to trauma, increasing your risk of a major cracked tooth.
Cracked teeth receive a variety of treatments, depending on how serious the cracks are. For craze lines, we treat them as a cosmetic dentistry problem. Teeth whitening can sometimes effectively erase them by eliminating staining. Other times, we might cover them with bonding or veneers.
Larger cracks in your teeth might require a dental crown to fix. If the crack penetrates to the pulp–the inner, living part of the tooth–we might recommend root canal therapy. Other times, the crack might reach the tooth root, and then the tooth might need to be extracted and replaced, ideally with a dental implant.