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Integrated Endodontics
Nestor M. Foronda, DMD

200 Pinewood Ln., Suite 200
Warrendale, PA 15086

(724) 262-2333 | View Map

What is Endodontics?

Cracked Teeth

Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Cracked Teeth and Their Treatment

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Cracked Teeth

Cracked teeth demonstrate many types of symptoms, including pain when chewing, temperature sensitivities, or even the release of biting pressure. It is also common for pain to come and go, making it difficult to diagnose the cause of discomfort. Chewing can cause movement of the cracked pieces of your tooth, and the pulp within the tooth becomes irritated. 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 can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gum surrounding the problematic tooth.

Different Types of Tooth Cracks and Their Implications

  1. Craze Lines
    • These are tiny cracks that only affect the outer enamel of the tooth, more common in adults. These cracks are superficial and are usually of no concern.
  2. Fractured Cusp
    • When a cusp becomes weakened, a fracture may result. The cusp may break off or be removed by a dentist. A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp, so root canal is not necessary. Your dentist will usually restore the tooth with a full crown.
  3. Treatable Cracked Tooth
    • This type of crack extends from the chewing surface of the tooth and vertically migrates towards the root, and may extend below the gum line or further into the root. Damage to the pulp is common, making root canal treatment usually necessary. Early detection is essential, as an untreated cracked tooth will worsen, potentially resulting in the loss of the tooth.
  4. Split Tooth
    • A split tooth is often the result of an untreated cracked tooth, identifiable by a crack with distinct segments. This type of tooth can never be saved intact, but the position and extent of the problem will dictate whether any portion of the tooth can be saved. Sometimes, endodontic retreatment and restoration can save a portion of the tooth.
  5. Vertical Root Fracture
    • These begin at the root and extend towards the chewing surface. Often showing minimal symptoms, they may go unnoticed. Treatment may involve endodontic surgery if a portion of the tooth can be saved by removing the fractured root. Otherwise, the tooth will likely need to be extracted.