What Kind of Crack Do You Have in Your Tooth?
A cracked tooth requires dental treatment. But what kind of treatment you need depends on the kind of crack you experienced. Here’s a guide to the types of cracks that appear in teeth and what types of treatment they require.
The cusps are the little peaks on your teeth. They can sometimes take the brunt of your bite force, and normally they’re up for the job–that’s what they’re made for, after all. However, if you have a cavity, wear, or erosion undermining one of your cusps you may very well bite down on it one day and the cusp will just break off.
The good news is that when this happens it very rarely breaks into the pulp chamber in the middle of the tooth. The bad news is that this will usually require a dental crown to repair.
A cracked tooth is when you have a crack that goes across the tooth and extends down through the crown and possibly into the root. The tooth hasn’t completely separated into two pieces, but it’s likely that the pulp chamber has been compromised. A root canal is necessary, and it’s possible that the tooth might still have to be extracted.
A split tooth is when a crack is left untreated and grows until it has completely or very nearly separated your tooth into two parts. Wedging the crack shows that the tooth is separable. You may also develop pus-filled sores in the gums around the tooth. A split tooth can sometimes be saved if part of the tooth can be discarded and the other part restored, but often a split tooth has to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant.
Vertical Root Fracture
Vertical root fracture occurs when the tooth root cracks inside the bone. You may not notice any symptoms at first, though later you may notice swelling and pus-filled sores as well as pain in the tooth. Some people experience no symptoms at all and we first learn about the broken tooth when it changes color because the pulp has died. This type of fracture means that the tooth must be extracted and replaced with a dental implant.