Cracked and Fractured Teeth
Cracked teeth occur when a portion of the tooth is weakened. Depending on the size and location of the crack, the tooth may be completely asymptomatic or it may elicit symptoms, such as pain when chewing or sensitivity to hot and cold. Some cracks enlarge over time and affect the nerve of the tooth and/or cause part of the tooth to break off. It is also common for pain to come and go, making it difficult to diagnose the cause of your discomfort.
Chewing can cause movement of the cracked pieces of your tooth, which irritates the pulp within the tooth. At the same time, when biting pressure is released, the crack can close quickly, resulting in sharp pain. Eventually, the pulp will become damaged and the tooth will consistently hurt, even when you are not chewing. It is possible that cracks will lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the surrounding bone and gum.
Types of Cracks
Craze lines are tiny cracks that only affect the outer enamel of the tooth. These types of cracks are superficial and are usually of no concern and are more common in adults than in children.
Fractured Cusps occur when a cusp becomes weakened. The cusp may break off or be removed by a dentist. A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp, so a root canal is not necessary. Your dentist will usually restore the tooth with a full crown.
Cracked Tooth extends from the chewing surface of the tooth and vertically migrates towards the root. In some cases, the crack may extend below the gum line. It is possible for the crack to extend further into the root. Damage to the pulp is commonplace. In this case, root canal treatment is usually necessary. A cracked tooth that is not treated will worsen, resulting in the loss of the tooth. Therefore, early detection i
Split Tooth is usually the result of an untreated cracked tooth. It can be identified by a crack with distinct segments. This type of tooth can never be saved intact. Yet, the position and extent of the problem will dictate whether any portion of the tooth can be saved. Sometimes, endodontic treatment by the doctors and restoration by your dentist can be used to save a portion of the tooth.
Vertical Root Fracture begins at the root and extends towards the chewing surface of the tooth. Unfortunately, they show minimal symptoms and may go unnoticed. Treatment involves endodontic surgery if a portion of the tooth can be saved by removal of the fractured root. Otherwise the tooth will have to be extracted.