Cracked teeth can be bothersome for many reasons, including pain when chewing or temperature sensitivities. Unfortunately, it's common to temporarily feel these symptoms, which makes the discomfort challenging to diagnose.
When you chew, it can cause the cracked pieces of the tooth to move, irritating the pulp in the tooth. Additionally, the motion of eating causes pressure to build and release, resulting in sharp pain. Eventually, the pulp is damaged, and the tooth will hurt consistently. Another problem is the potential for an infection of the pulp tissue. The infection can spread to the bone and gum surrounding the tooth, too.
These are tiny cracks on the outside of the tooth that don't go past the outer enamel. They're more common in adults, are superficial, and are often not a reason for concern.
Fractured cusps occur when the area weakens. It can break on its own or be removed by your dentist. These rarely damage the pulp, so a root canal isn't necessary for these cracks. Instead, a restoration dentist places a crown over the tooth.
A traditional cracked tooth goes from the chewing surface to the root. These can go into the root and damage the pulp. A root canal is necessary to fix this type of problem. If it's not repaired right away, the patient can lose their tooth.
When a tooth splits, it's often a result of a cracked tooth that wasn't treated. The crack is visible and extends through the tooth. The doctor can't save the whole tooth when there is a split. However, part of the tooth can still be saved with endodontic treatment. Patients must follow up with an immediate appointment with a restorative dentist to place a crown over the tooth to protect the root from further damage and infection.
Vertical Root Fracture
A vertical root fracture is slightly different. It starts at the root and goes to the chewing surface. These are easy to miss because the crack rarely causes pain, and symptoms are often mild. Our endodontists can treat the tooth and perform endodontic surgery to save part of it. In many cases, depending on how extensive the damage is, the tooth will need to be removed.
To learn more about cracked tooth symptoms and treatments, watch the video below
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