Teeth are very resilient and can handle different kinds of external stressors. However, they can also be somewhat fragile if you’re not careful. That’s especially true for decayed or damaged teeth. Cracks can form easily and cause a number of dental health problems. That’s one of the reasons why it is important to ensure you take proper care and seek prompt treatment for cracked teeth. We explain everything you need to know about it:
What Does It Mean to Have Cracked or Broken Tooth?
If your tooth is structurally compromised and has a clear crack in it, it is very vulnerable. That’s especially pulp of your tooth is exposed. That can be very painful and cause serious dental health issues down the line. A cracked or broken tooth needs to be treated immediately to avoid any sort of infection and to help prevent tooth loss.
If the cracks are minor, you may not even notice it until your next dental appointment. That’s why it is a good idea to visit your dentist regularly. If you visit once every six months, your dentist will be able to spot the damage and provide treatment promptly.
Different Types of Fractured Tooth
Your teeth won’t crack in a specific way. The damage depends on several factors like reason, angle, condition of the tooth prior to the damage, etc. The dentist will carefully examine your teeth to understand exactly what’s going on before they recommend a treatment. The different times of cracked tooth issues are:
- Cracked Tooth – This is when the crack runs from the tip of the tooth to the root or even to the gums. The crack is usually severe enough that the inner pulp is exposed and causes problems. This treatment requires immediate attention because if any sort of bacteria reaches the root, it will cause severe inflammation and you may lose the tooth.
- Craze Lines Teeth – Craze lines are nothing to worry about and they rarely compromise the structural integrity of your teeth. They are small lines that appear on the enamel and don’t penetrate too deep. Craze lines don’t require treatment unless you want to fix the issue for cosmetic reasons.
- Cracked Cusp – The cusp is the biting edge of your teeth and it can be a little more fragile than other parts of your teeth. If the cusp is cracked, it is best to visit the dentist. You may experience sharp, stabbing-like pain when you bite down if the cusp is cracked. If this remains untreated, you may have to deal with a broken tooth down the line. Don’t delay treatment at if you can manage it.
- Split Tooth – This usually happens if a cracked tooth is left untreated. The structural integrity of the tooth is compromised, which means it can’t handle the regular stress of biting and chewing. That can eventually lead to a split, where your tooth splits completely in pieces. This can be quite painful because the inner pulp is exposed. The tooth can split in two directions, from the tip to root and from root to tip.
These are the most ways in which your teeth can break. Proper dental care and hygiene can prevent most of the damage. If you break a tooth due to an accident, consider booking an emergency dental appointment.
Reasons for Cracks in Teeth
Cracks in teeth can happen for a number of reasons and the causes can have an impact on the treatment provided. Some of the most common reasons are mentioned below:
1. Excessive Teeth Grinding
If you have a habit of teeth grinding, you may need to check for chipped teeth. People suffering from this ailment often end up damaging their teeth if the problem isn’t addressed immediately. Excessive teeth grinding can weaken your teeth over time and cause structural issues, especially if the tooth has decay or damage already.
2. Large Filings
Teeth with fillings are especially vulnerable to the pressure exerted and can crack more easily. Your dentist may warn you about any vulnerable teeth during your regular check-up. Filings are a good replacement for natural dental matter but they aren’t a complete replacement. Your tooth will be weaker and more prone to cracking or chipping.
If you have large filings, it is a good idea to check your teeth regularly or consider a dental crown or something similar.
3. Accidental Damage
Accidental damage due to biting on something hard or tough is also a common cause of cracks in teeth. This can happen if you overestimate just how resilient your teeth are. Fortunately, most people know how to avoid this problem instinctively and the damage that occurs is often minor.
If you accidentally bite down on a hard fruit pit or meat bone, conduct a visual examination of your teeth to ensure there are no cracks. If there’s damage, visit your dentist as soon as possible to get the best results.
If you are hit in your chin or jaw, you may sustain damage to the teeth depending on how hard the blow was. For example, a strong punch can dislodge teeth and banging your chin against a steering wheel can lead to a cracked tooth. If you are injured near the mouth or jaw, it is a good idea to visit your dentist immediately for a check-up. You may have caused damage to your teeth without noticing the problem.
Injuries can be mild or severe, requiring extensive treatment. The faster you treat the problem, the better.
5. Gum Disease
Gum disease can also cause cracks. These cracks usually occur in the root of your teeth because your gums are damaged and your teeth have no anchors. Root cracks are difficult to treat and can end up being a quite painful. That’s one of the reasons why it is a good idea to get gum disease treated as quickly as possible. The last thing you want is for your roots to become exposed to decay and physical damage.
If you notice your gums are receding, visit your nearest dentist for a check-up and some assistance. Early treatment can reduce the damage and help you recover.
Aside from these issues, things like frequent temperature changes in your mouth can also cause cracks. If you wish to avoid them, maintain proper dental hygiene and visit your dentist regularly to remain up-to-date on all aspects of your dental health.
What are the Treatment Options?
Dentists will first examine your teeth carefully to understand just how damaged they are. Once they have a good idea, they will recommend one of the procedures mentioned below:
- Bonding – Bonding is the easiest and most non-invasive treatment. It involves using plastic dental resin to fill the cracks and give your teeth a uniform appearance.
- Contouring – Cosmetic contouring doesn’t repair your teeth. The dentist will use it for small little chips at the tip of your teeth. They will grind the edges a little to give them a more uniform appearance without damaging the structural integrity of your teeth. It is difficult to tell the difference between natural and contoured teeth. Experienced dentists know how to do this without damaging your bite.
- Veneers – Veneers can disguise different types of imperfections easily. They are wafer-thin pieces of porcelain that are adhered to the front of your teeth. If you have any small cracks or chips, the veneers will hide them and protect your teeth at the same time.
- Crowns – Dental crowns are for more extensive damage. If the damage is extensive enough to expose the pulp or root of your teeth, dental crowns may be the best option. The dentist will remove the damaged area, make room for the crowns, and even carry out a root canal if necessary. They will then place custom crowns on the prepared teeth to give you a beautiful smile.
If you want to know more about a crack in tooth, consider visiting your dentist and asking them the necessary questions. They will do their best to explain everything you need to know and recommend good treatment options.
1. What happens if you chip a tooth?
If you chip a tooth, you need to visit your dentist for a comprehensive examination. The dentist will determine the extent of the damage and then recommend solutions that will be suitable for your requirements.
2. If you chip a tooth, will it grow back?
Unfortunately, no. Human beings don’t have the ability to grow back their teeth. If you have chipped a tooth, you can choose treatment options like crowns, veneers, or dental cement to ensure your teeth look uniform.
3. My tooth broke in half but it doesn’t hurt.
A crack or break will only hurt if your inner dental pulp is exposed. The pulp has the sensitive nerves that can cause extensive pain when exposed. If you don’t experience any pain, don’t worry. However, you will still need to seek treatment immediately. A broken tooth will provide room for bacterial growth, decay, and other such problems.