If you’ve been dealing with tooth sensitivity from an unknown cause, or you’ve noticed a crack in your tooth, you need to visit a dentist for treatment because even a tiny crack can worsen into a serious issue. Your treatment options include: Bonding Filling Crown Root canal Extraction You can find all of these treatments on offer at Houston’s Bunker Hill Dentistry in a relaxing environment with dedicated patient care. Credit: George C Hodges What Causes a Tooth to Become Cracked? Normal wear and tear in older people can weaken a tooth to the point of cracking during regular use, while young people are more likely to crack teeth in an accident. Cavities, grinding or clenching, chewing hard foods, and undergoing previous dental work such as large fillings or root canals can all weaken teeth as well and make them susceptible to cracking. How Do I Know if My Tooth is Cracked? A crack in your tooth may not always be visible. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it may be a sign that you have cracked a tooth: pain while biting, especially once you release the bite tooth sensitivity to cold and/or hot foods or sweet foods tooth pain that comes and goes gum swelling around the cracked tooth discoloration or a light brown vertical line on your tooth With a cracked tooth you may not even feel any pain at all, which can make a crack difficult for a dentist to spot. X-rays may not even reveal the crack, depending on its size and location, the angle of the x-ray, and any previous dental work that may potentially cover the crack. Which Teeth Are More Likely to Crack? The molars at the back of the mouth where most chewing takes place are the most likely area to have a cracked tooth. Credit: scientificanimations.com This is also the area where grinding and teeth clenching also have the most impact, and they can also cause teeth to crack. Different Types of Cracks If you’re worried because you’ve just noticed lots of tiny hairline cracks on the enamel, or outer covering of your teeth, never fear: these are called craze lines, and they’re very common. They typically develop simply as people age, and they’re not a medical issue unless they’re causing you pain. However, other types of cracks that are more likely to be problematic and are sometimes generally defined as cracked tooth syndrome (CTS) include: Cracked tooth: Cracked teeth fall into one of two camps: saveable and non-saveable. When a crack that runs from the chewing surface toward the root extends below the gum line, treatment is no longer possible. But if it has only reached the pulp, it can be preserved via root canal and crown. Fractured cusp: Commonly occurring around dental fillings, a fractured cusp involves part of a tooth’s chewing surface breaking off. Because it’s typically a superficial crack that doesn’t affect the pulp, a fractured cusp is usually not painful. Split tooth: As the name implies, a split tooth is a tooth with a crack so extensive it has separated the tooth into two distinct segments. Your dentist may be able to save a portion of a split tooth, depending on the position and extent of the crack, but likely not the entire tooth. Vertical root fracture: Because they originate in the root of the tooth and travel upward, and they often give off little or no symptoms at first, a vertical root fracture may not be identified until the surrounding bone and gum become infected. Surgery may be able to remove the fractured section, otherwise tooth extraction may be necessary. Do You Need to Fix a Cracked Tooth? Whether you need treatment for a cracked tooth depends on the type of crack and where it’s located in the mouth. A small enough crack that’s not likely to worsen may be fine to leave alone. However, if it will be constantly under biting pressure, even a small crack can expand so much that it invites tooth decay, which can become infected and spread to the bone and gums if left untreated. Treatment Options to Fix a Cracked Tooth Because teeth can’t heal themselves, even with treatment the tooth will never be the same as it was. Still, we can resolve the pain associated with a cracked tooth and restore its functionality in a variety of ways that can last for many years. This includes: Bonding For minor- to moderate-sized cracks, applying tooth-colored composite resin to your damaged tooth can provide a repair solution that can last 10 years or more. Learn More About Bonding at Bunker Hill Dentistry Filling Commonly used to repair the abscesses caused by cavities, fillings are similar to bonding except fillings are more helpful for restoring functionality, whereas bonding is primarily cosmetic. A crack in a molar, for example, which is far back in the mouth and not very noticeable, could be fixed with a filling that doesn’t need to look like a tooth, such as gold or silver. All You Need to Know About Getting a Filling Crown For major cracks, a metal or porcelain crown will need to be placed over the biting surface of the tooth to cap it and restore its strength and appearance. Receiving Dental Crowns at Bunker Hill Dentistry Root canal A crack that reaches the pulp on the tooth’s interior must be treated with a root canal to save the tooth. Typically a crown will also be cemented onto the top of the tooth after a root canal. Comfortable Root Canal Treatment at Bunker Hill Dentistry Extraction If the crack stretches beyond the gum line, it must be removed and replaced with a tooth implant or bridge. When Your Teeth Need Extracting & Replacement Options Whitening and veneers Together with bonding, these non-invasive treatment methods can be used to resolve the appearance of craze lines. Full Range of Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments at Bunker Hill Dentistry Is Treatment Permanent? It’s not unheard of for some of these treatments to last for decades, but none of them are intended to be permanent, nor should you expect them to be so. They will typically need to be replaced after a number of years, and there is always a small chance that the crack could worsen despite the initial treatment and require more extensive work at some point. Why Bunker Hill Dentistry? Dr. Le and his wife and office manager Ann Le Specialists – Dr. Le and our team can treat your cracked tooth pain and bring your smile back to normal with whichever treatment option works best for your situation. Serene setting – Our office is designed to provide a calm, relaxing environment to help put your mind at ease during treatment. Take a tour. Client satisfaction – We have one mission – total client satisfaction. “Care, Comfort, Convenience” is our guarantee to every client. More about Bunker Hill Dentistry. Reception room at Bunker Hill Dentistry State of the art – We utilize the most advanced technology such as the i-CAT 3D x-ray machine, All-On-4® implants and an anesthesia-delivery wand, for faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment. Conveniently located – Located in Memorial, just a short drive from Houston’s city center. Find us on the map. How Much Does it Cost to Treat a Cracked Tooth? There’s no hard-and-fast answer to this question, as the treatment options are quite varied depending on the extent of the damage. For example, a simple filling may be enough to resolve one patient’s case, while another’s may require a tooth extraction followed by a dental implant procedure. Once you get a dentist’s diagnosis about the type and severity of your crack, then you’ll have a better idea of what treatment will cost. How to Prevent Cracked Teeth? Here are a few do’s and don’ts that can help you avoid cracking any (more) teeth… DO: Wear a mouthguard or protective mask while playing contact or high-impact sports. Wear a nightguard if you grind or you’ve been diagnosed with bruxism (teeth grinding). Follow all recommended oral care guidelines (brush twice per day, floss once per day, get regular dental checkups, etc.). DON’T: Avoid chewing on hard objects such as ice and unpopped popcorn kernels, and never chew on non-food items such as pens. Never use your teeth to open packages or bottles. Don’t ignore tooth sensitivity–seeing a dentist as soon as possible could stop a minor crack from worsening. Schedule An Appointment Today Not been to Bunker Hill Dentistry before? To help you prepare for your first visit, read our new patient information page.