Cracked Tooth -- These cracks usually run vertically, originating from the top part of the crown and working their way down. Treatment typically entails a root canal followed by a dental crown. If the crack has extended below the gum line, the tooth may require a tooth extraction.
Split Tooth -- When a cracked tooth is not treated, the crack can extend beyond the root, causing the tooth to split. Although these teeth are difficult to save, they can sometimes be treated with a root canal.
Vertical Root Fracture -- Sometimes the crack starts at the bottom of the root and works its way up. If caught early, endodontic dental surgery may correct the situation.
Cracked teeth are different from crazing, where visible surface cracks appear on the tooth enamel. Crazing becomes more common as we age. Although crazing doesn't look pretty, it is harmless.
You’ll Have to Find Me First
Whereas crazing is easy to spot, cracked teeth aren't so obvious. Cracks don't show up on X-rays, leaving your dentist to rely on old-fashioned investigation techniques to find the culprit. Since you won't be able to tell which tooth is causing the pain, your dentist will perform a bite test to find the fractured tooth. You'll bite down on an instrument that's placed on one section of a tooth -- if you don't feel anything, your dentist will move the instrument to a different tooth until the source of your pain is found.
Wanted: Cracked Teeth
As you've seen, the treatment for cracked teeth depends on the type of crack and the amount of damage that's done. The earlier you catch a cracked tooth, the easier it is to save. In fact, cracks that have recently developed on the surface of the tooth may only require a dental crown. But if your fractured tooth needs a root canal, don't feel discouraged. Not only can a root canal save your tooth from extraction, but it may preserve your tooth for the rest of your life!
You do have the ability to prevent cracked teeth. Practicing excellent oral hygiene, maintaining a healthy diet and visiting your dentist regularly will strengthen your teeth against fractures. Should you experience any symptoms of cracked tooth syndrome, see your dentist as soon as you can.
Watch a video on cracked teeth