Cracked teeth are common dental problems.  Due to advances in dentistry that allow people to keep their natural teeth longer, the likelihood that you will experience cracked teeth increases.  AZ Dental offers treatments to restore the appearance, health, and function of cracked teeth.  Call us today at 408-227-6000 for more information about cracked teeth and make your appointment with Dr. Anastasios Photopoulos in San Jose, California.

Teeth may crack for a variety of reasons, such as biting on hard objects, trauma, and bruxism (teeth grinding).  These and other behaviors place the teeth under extra strain, making them more susceptible to cracking.  When your tooth enamel cracks, the pain can be momentarily debilitating, but you may not feel any discomfort when there is no pressure on the crack.  As your teeth are used to bite and chew, the crack widens to expose the inner workings of the tooth, causing painful irritation which comes and goes as the crack opens and closes.

Symptoms of cracked teeth include:

  • Unexplained pain while eating
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods
  • Pain without an obvious cause
  • Difficulty in pinpointing the source of the pain

The treatment provided for your cracked tooth will depend on the type of crack your tooth has experienced.  Common types of cracks include:

  • Crazes – these are tiny vertical cracks, usually scratches on the tooth surface. Most dentists consider them a normal part of tooth anatomy, and treatment is usually recommended for cosmetic purposes only.
  • Oblique supragingival cracks – these cracks only affect the crown of the tooth. The affected areas of the tooth will eventually break off, but you will experience very little pain.  Crowns or fillings are common treatments.
  • Oblique subgingival cracks – this crack extends beyond the gum line, often to the jawbone. When a piece breaks off, it usually remains until removed by a dentist.  These cracks are painful, and may require a combination of periodontal surgery and endodontic treatment to restore.
  • Vertical furcation cracks – this type of crack is a result of the roots of the tooth separating. It almost always affects the nerves of the tooth.  Root canal therapy and a dental crown are usually enough to save the tooth.
  • Oblique root cracks – these cracks affect only the areas of the tooth below the gum line, and usually below the jawbone as well. Depending on how close the fracture is to the tooth surface, root canal treatment may be possible.  More often, extraction is the only treatment option.
  • Vertical apical root cracks – this crack occurs at the apex. Though the tooth does not require an extraction from the dental perspective, many patients request extraction due to the high levels of pain produced by this crack.

Some cracked teeth can be treated with root canals, followed by crowns or fillings.  Other cracked teeth require extractions.  Options for replacing your extracted tooth include dental bridges, dental implants, and partial dentures.

If you have further questions about cracked teeth, please contact our office to speak with our endodontist.