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Dr. Thomas F. Gerrets Jr. D.M.D., P.A.

Ridgeland, MS

 
Cracked Teeth

Cracked teeth demonstrate many types of symptoms, including pain when chewing and temperature sensitivities. 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. 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 can lead to infection of the pulp tissue which can spread to the bone and gums surrounding the problematic tooth.

 

Types of Cracks

 

Craze lines

These are tiny cracks that only affect the outer enamel of the tooth. These cracks are more common in adults. These types of cracks are superficial and are usually of no concern.

 

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 may not damage the pulp, so root canal therapy may not be necessary. Your dentist will usually restore the tooth with a full crown.

Cracked Tooth

This type of crack extends from the chewing surface of the tooth and vertically extends 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 probable. 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.

Split Tooth

A split tooth is usually the result of an untreated cracked tooth. 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 an endodontist and restoration by your general dentist can be used to save a portion of the tooth.