Cracked teeth can happen for a variety of reasons—a sports injury, chewing on ice, even teeth grinding. It’s not always easy to tell whether or not a tooth has been cracked, but seeking a professional evaluation from your dentist can make all the difference for your smile.
If left untreated, cracked teeth can lead to decay or an infection that can compromise the health of your entire tooth. If your dentist finds that your tooth has indeed been cracked, what are your best options to repair it and get your smile back to normal?
For cracks that are minor, dental bonding can help restore teeth. Dental bonding involves using a tooth-colored composite resin—the same material used for many modern fillings—to fill in small cracks and protect teeth from further damage.
Dental bonding is a simple and minimally-invasive treatment option; however, your dentist may not recommend dental bonding if the crack in your tooth is more severe.
In some cases, cracked teeth can also be repaired with fillings, similarly to cavities. Cusps, or points, on the teeth—of which canine teeth only have one while molars will have several—can be fractured or completely broken off. In cases such as these, dental fillings can be ideal for repairing fractured cusps and restoring your tooth .
Root Canal Therapy
If you have a tooth that’s been deeply cracked—such as a tooth with a crack that extends below the gumline—your dentist may recommend root canal therapy. Teeth with cracks such as these—commonly the lower molars—can benefit from root canal therapy . A cracked tooth may be at risk for infection or already be infected, in which case, root canal therapy will offer you your best chance to save your tooth and avoid an extraction.
For patients that have a severely fractured tooth cusp or for those that have received root canal therapy, your dentist may utilize a dental crown to protect your tooth’s structure. Dental crowns have been shown to reduce symptoms of cracked teeth and help protect them from future cracks and other damage .
Dental crowns are either made from porcelain ceramic or acrylic resin and will act as a type of cap that covers your natural tooth and provides additional protection. Dental crowns are durable and match your natural teeth, making them useful for a variety of cracked tooth cases.
Do You Have a Cracked Tooth?
Symptoms of a cracked tooth could include pain, tooth sensitivity, or swelling around the affected area. If you suspect your tooth has sustained an injury, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your local dentist to evaluate your smile and get a potential repair!