A “cracked tooth” occurs when a crack or fracture appears in a tooth. A cracked tooth can occur for a variety of reasons like aging, biting into some too hard (like popcorn kernels), broken restorations (fillings, crowns, root canals), teeth grinding, or trauma. A cracked tooth is not to be confused with a “chipped tooth,” where just a little piece of the biting edge of the tooth may have gotten chipped off from trauma or grinding over time. Cracked teeth can commonly occur in the upper front teeth and back lower teeth. This is because the front teeth generally bite into food first and the brunt of chewing is done in the back of the mouth with quite a bit of force, which is why these teeth may break more easily over time.
Cracked teeth may not always cause pain or discomfort especially if a tooth is root canal treated. With a root canal tooth, the nerve is removed from the tooth meaning that pain no longer can be felt moving forward. If the tooth is cracked with a root canal treated tooth, you most likely won’t even know it. However, if you do feel pain or symptoms with a tooth it may feel like the following:
Depending on the severity of the crack, a tooth may or may not be saveable meaning it may need to be extracted (or pulled). However, in a multirooted back (posterior) tooth, a tooth may be able to be saved if the positioning of where the crack is located is not severe. Although, it should be known that if the tooth is savable at one time, the tooth may later have to be removed if the crack worsens or further damage is done. A dentist may test to see if a crack is present with help of radiographic imaging, a 3-D CBCT machine, using special dental tools, or using a special stick to bite down on to see where pain is present. Our Garner, NC Dental friends at Moore Family Dentistry explains that technology has made this process much easier.
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If you have a cracked tooth and are experiencing pani, it is recommended that you be seen in the dental office as soon as possible. At River Run Dental Spa, we have general dentists who are readily available for you to assess if your cracked tooth is savable or if it may need to be removed. We offer tooth replacement options for patients who are unable to save a tooth. We gladly accept new patients in our office and look forward to treating you. Please visit our website for new patient information!