A cracked tooth also called a broken/fractured tooth, is when a crack appears in your tooth. The crack can be small or can cause your tooth to break. Tooth fractures are common in older people and children, although anyone can have tooth cracks.
Causes of a cracked tooth
There are several potential causes of a cracked tooth. One of the most common causes is tooth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism. The force can cause the tooth to crack when you grind or clench your teeth. This is especially common in people who are under a lot of stress or who have misaligned teeth.
Another common cause of a cracked tooth is biting or chewing on hard objects, such as ice, candy, or pens. When you bite down on a hard object, the force can cause the tooth to crack. This type of tooth fracture is most common in the back teeth, which are used for chewing.
A blow to the mouth or face can also cause a cracked tooth. This can happen during sports or other contact-related activities or impact the mouth. A crack in the tooth can also occur if the tooth is already weakened, for example, due to decay or a large filling.
Other issues that could cause your teeth to crack or fracture include:
- Large fillings that might weaken tooth integrity
- Sudden changes in your mouth temperature
- Age. Most teeth cracks occur in people aged over 50 years
Types of cracked teeth
There are several different types of cracked teeth, depending on the location and severity of the crack.
- Craze line. This is a very small, shallow crack, usually not visible to the naked eye. Craze lines do not usually cause any symptoms and do not typically require treatment.
- Split tooth. This is a crack that extends from the biting surface of the tooth down to the root. Split teeth are more serious than craze lines and can cause pain and sensitivity. Treatment for a split tooth may involve a filling, crown, or root canal.
- Vertical root fracture. This crack extends from the tooth’s root upwards towards the biting surface. Vertical root fractures are often not visible and can be difficult to diagnose. They can cause pain and sensitivity and may require tooth extraction if they cannot be repaired.
- Crack extending into the gum line. This is characterized by a crack that extends through the tooth but has not yet reached the gum line. It extends straight down from the tooth’s biting surface towards the root.
- A fractured cusp. This type of crack occurs around a dental filling and does not affect the tooth pulp. A fractured cusp is usually caused by biting on hard objects or by tooth grinding.
Symptoms of a cracked tooth
Having a cracked tooth doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see the symptoms. Often, people have cracked teeth without knowing. However, if you notice the following signs, you require dental treatment:
- Swollen gum around the cracked tooth
- Teeth that have abruptly become sensitive to hot or cold foods
- Tooth pain that tends to come and go
- Discomfort around the teeth and gums
- Tooth pain when chewing or biting
When you should see a dentist
If you suspect you have a cracked tooth, you should make an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. Remember that when a cracked tooth goes untreated, it may be more difficult to save it. It is recommended if you are feeling pain and discomfort.
Treatment for a cracked tooth
Treatment for a fractured tooth depends on the crack’s location and severity. Common cracked tooth treatments include:
- Extraction: This involves completely removing your tooth when the root and nerves are severely damaged.
- Root canal: This involves the removal of damaged pulp to prevent tooth weakening.
- Bonding: This involves applying plastic resin to fill in the fracture.
- Crown: A ceramic or porcelain cap is fitted over the cracked tooth.
- Veneer: This is a thin covering of plastic or porcelain that goes over the tooth front
How can cracked teeth be prevented?
Broken teeth can not always be prevented, but a few ways can help. These include:
- Maintaining good oral hygiene. This can involve brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice daily and cleaning your tongue using a tongue scraper or toothbrush. Using mouthwash can also help to kill bacteria and freshen the breath.
- If you grind or clench your teeth, a mouthguard can help to protect your teeth from the forces of grinding and clenching.
- Trying not to grind teeth or other habits that might damage the teeth.
- Avoiding tobacco products, such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco
- Avoiding foods that are hard to chew
Don’t let tooth fractures compromise your oral health. Kindly schedule an appointment for broken tooth restoration.