Cracked teeth usually occur due to many years of grinding, clenching, and chewing on hard objects. Symptoms associated with cracked teeth include erratic pain upon chewing, especially during release of biting, and extreme sensitivity to hot or cold. There are many different types of cracks, such as the following:
This is a tiny crack that only affects the outer enamel of the tooth. This type of crack, more common in adults, is superficial and is usually of no concern.
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 a root canal is not necessary. Your dentist will usually restore the tooth with a full crown.
This type of crack 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 is essential.
A 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 retreatment by the doctors and restoration by your dentist can be used to save a portion of the tooth.
Vertical root fracture
A vertical root fracture begins at the root and extends towards the chewing surface of the tooth. Unfortunately, it shows 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.