If you have developed a crack in your tooth, you should see a dentist immediately. Reconstructive dentistry can be used to repair or replace a cracked tooth, but the proper treatment depends on the type of cracked tooth.
Here are some types of tooth cracks you might experience and how we will treat them.
Craze lines are tiny cracks, typically in the front of your teeth. They are the result of the bite force from your teeth coming together. These are mainly cosmetic, and they don’t require any treatment. Often, though, we might use tooth-colored fillings to cover over these cracks for cosmetic reasons.
If you look at your teeth, they have sharp peaks, and many of them have little valleys, too. The peaks of your teeth are called the cusps, and they’re normally strong enough for their job of breaking down your food. But sometimes your cusps can be weakened, causing them to break off.
Cusps can be weakened by erosion of your teeth by acidic foods and beverages or by cavities underneath them. Because of the position of the cusps, when they break off it doesn’t usually expose the tooth pulp, but a dental crown is usually required to repair this type of fracture.
The classic cracked tooth goes across the tooth between the cusps and down along the side. It may go beyond the crown into the root of the tooth. The tooth is still one piece, so it’s possible it can be saved, but because the crack goes down the middle of the tooth, it’s likely that the pulp chamber has been opened, which means that a root canal will likely be necessary. If the crack is too large, we might not be able to save the tooth.
When a cracked tooth isn’t treated quickly, the crack can grow until the tooth breaks completely into two parts. Because this definitely exposed the pulp chamber, and because the crack has probably been left untreated too long, the interior of the tooth is likely infected. You may develop sores around the tooth that are filled with pus.
We might be able to save split tooth if part of it can be removed and part of it restored with a root canal, but in many cases a dental implant is your only option.
Vertical Root Fracture
Vertical root fracture is a type of tooth crack you might not notice at first because the crack occurs in the bone. It’s only when the tooth becomes infected and begins to hurt or develops pus-filled sores that you become aware of it.
When a tooth has this type of fracture, it can’t be repaired–it has to be replaced.
Not sure what kind of crack you have on your tooth? Please call (702) 873-0324 for an appointment with a Summerlin dentist at the office of Dr. James B. Polley. We’re also happy to offer second opinions on a treatment plan so you can know if you’re getting the right treatment for your damaged tooth.