As we age, our teeth can become more vulnerable to cracking or fracturing due to a wide range of factors, from tooth grinding and trauma, among other causes. You may not have any warning signs at all with a fractured/cracked tooth -or you could suffer from pain, sensitivity, and swelling in the affected area. When it comes to treatment for these fractures, your dentist has several options available that are incredibly tailored depending on where the fracture is located as well as its severity.


What is a cracked or fractured tooth?

Whether you’re young or old, tooth fracture—often referred to as a cracked tooth—can affect anyone. While sometimes it can only be a minor crack on the surface of your tooth, other times, more serious damage may occur. If you think that something is amiss with one of your teeth, don’t wait around; contact a dental professional right away!


What areas of the tooth are prone to cracking?

Your teeth are composed of two distinct parts: an easily visible crown and a root lying below your gums. Both the crown and root have multiple layers that make up each one: enamel, which is a hard white outer layer; dentin, the middle layer; and pulp – soft inner tissue with blood vessels and nerves within it.

Tooth fractures can range from minimal to severe and may impact one or all of its layers. The required treatment for a fractured tooth depends on the severity and location of the breakage. Symptoms like pain and sensitivity could be present; however, some cracks are unnoticeable without professional detection – so make sure you see your dentist as soon as possible. Early diagnosis is essentially key when attempting to repair a cracked tooth.


Causes of a cracked tooth

Age, biting hard foods or objects, bad habits such as gum chewing and ice eating, large dental fillings or a root canal procedure that weakens the tooth structure, teeth grinding (bruxism), and trauma from falls/sports injuries/car accidents can all contribute to serious fractures in your teeth.


What teeth are especially vulnerable to cracking and fracturing?

Fractures are frequently found on the upper front teeth or in the back of your lower jaw (mandibular molars). While one fractured tooth may occur, more severe trauma can cause multiple teeth to fracture. Those with dental cavities have a greater risk of breaking a tooth even when exposed to less significant force.


What are the symptoms of cracked tooth syndrome?

Cracked teeth may not always present symptoms, but if they do, you should be on the lookout for

  • pain that fluctuates while chewing
  • heightened sensitivity to changes in temperature or sugary foods
  • swelling around the tooth
  • persistent throbbing when biting down.


dental cracks options emergency treatments croydonDiagnosis of a cracked tooth

To identify a cracked tooth, your medical professional will inquire about the signs you’re feeling and what might have led to possibly damaging it. He’ll also ask if any trauma or accident took place. To obtain an accurate assessment of your teeth, seeing a dentist is essential.

Your dental background and whether you excessively grind your teeth or chew on ice cubes or hard food items can be the questions that he may pose during this visit.

Your dentist will:

  • Examine your tooth to determine if it’s fractured or has been completely knocked out (avulsed).
  • Request that you clench a stick between your teeth to gauge the presence of discomfort.
  • Carefully examine your teeth for any visible fractures.
  • Take a close look at your gums for signs of swelling, which may be an indicator that vertical fractures are irritating.
  • Utilise transillumination to reveal a fracture and inspect your tooth by passing light through it.
  • Enhance the visibility of a tooth crack by staining it with a specialised dye.
  • To identify fractures and other issues, like bone loss, you should get an X-ray of your teeth. You may even need to receive a 3D scan known as a cone beam CT scan that can display any signs of bone loss caused by the fracture.
  • Utilise specialised instruments to spot the crack (periodontal probing) by monitoring whether or not they become stuck on the breakage.


What are the types of tooth fractures?

Your dentist will classify your fracture as one of the following five categories:

  • Cracked tooth: A vertical fissure extends from the biting surface of your tooth to just below, or even into, your gum line and root.
  • Craze lines (hairline cracks): Microscopic, thin fractures may appear on your tooth’s outermost enamel layer. Remarkably, these craze lines are usually harmless and cause no discomfort!
  • Fractured cusp: As dental filling ages, it will begin to crack and break down. Fortunately, these fractures are usually painless.
  • Split tooth: A visible crack runs from the surface of your tooth to below your gum line, causing it to split into two separate parts.
  • Vertical root fracture: Fractures can often arise underneath the gumline, progressing toward the tooth’s biting surface. Unfortunately, vertical root fractures usually don’t produce any symptoms until your tooth becomes infected.



Is it possible to treat a fractured tooth without visiting the dentist?

You cannot treat a cracked or fractured tooth at home, but you can ease the discomfort before visiting the professional; these steps can be taken:

  • To ease the pain and reduce swelling, apply an ice pack to your cheek.
  • Avoid pain by flossing around the cracked tooth to eliminate plaque and any sticky food residue. Don’t attempt to prod it without reason.
  • To ease the discomfort caused by over-grinding a cracked tooth, try biting down on a piece of gauze.
  • Slumbering at an elevated angle is a great method of alleviating aches and pains.
  • Rinse your mouth using this warm salt water greatly helps in bacterial removal from the affected site.
  • Subdue your pain with a dose of paracetamol.
  • Refrain from consuming food on that side and opt for soft, lukewarm dishes instead.
  • Clove oil is recognised for its capability to naturally alleviate and repair the discomfort caused by a broken tooth.
  • Dental wax has protective properties that will guard against any sharp edges that could potentially harm your mouth and soft tissue. But be mindful; this remedy won’t fix large cracked or broken teeth.


How do dentists treat a cracked tooth?

Depending on the severity of damage to your tooth, there are several treatment options available for a cracked tooth. These include:

  • Bonding: A plastic resin is injected into the fissure to repair it.
  • Cosmetic contouring: By smoothing out the jagged edges and polishing, a broken tooth can become its former self.
  • Crown: When there isn’t enough of your natural tooth to accommodate a veneer, a porcelain or ceramic cap may be the ideal solution for mending a fractured tooth. This type of procedure is an effective and quick way to repair the damage that can result from various activities like sports or accidents.
  • Extraction: If the root and nerves of your tooth have sustained major harm, total extraction might be a viable solution.
  • Root canal: To shield a weakened tooth from further harm, removing the compromised pulp can be necessary if a fracture has reached the interior of the tooth.
  • Veneer: If you have retained a substantial amount of your natural tooth, then using porcelain or plastic veneers is an ideal way to cover the front surface. These thin films act as protective shells for teeth and can help bring back their original appearance.

Your dental provider may suggest forgoing the repair of a fractured tooth if it does not harm your physical aesthetic, is painless and only appears to be minor, like a hairline fissure.


Can I prevent a fractured tooth?

signs teeth cracks croydonWhile it is difficult to avoid tooth fractures altogether, you can minimise the risk of cracked tooth syndrome by following these simple strategies

  • abstain from chewing hard foods and ice cubes;
  • ensure optimal oral hygiene with teeth brushing and gum care
  • if you participate in sports activities or tend to grind your teeth at night, use a mouth guard designed specifically for you by your dentist
  • stay up-to-date on dental checkups.


Is it possible to mend a cracked tooth?

A cracked or broken tooth can’t fix itself, but the right treatment may help you save it. Seeking rapid repair for your fractured tooth reduces the risk of additional damage and infections.


How long will the dentist take to repair my fractured tooth?

It can vary from weeks to a few months and depends on the treatment option. Your dentist is the best person to explain how much time might be needed for you specifically, such as:

  • Crowns: While your dentist may be able to equip a crown in just one appointment, it usually involves multiple visits.
  • Extractions: Replacing a tooth with a dental implant may take several months.
  • Veneers: Creating a custom-made veneer typically requires three to four weeks of preparation time before your dentist can fit it onto the desired tooth.


What can be expected with a cracked tooth?

Prompt and regular dental care can help you maintain your teeth for years, but even with treatment, a crack in the tooth may persist or worsen. Sadly, this could eventually result in tooth loss if not addressed expeditiously and effectively.


When should I contact a dentist if I think my tooth is cracked?

If you want to prevent a potential infection (tooth abscess), you must keep an eye out for signs of a cracked tooth. These symptoms include

  • foul breath
  • continuous pain in your teeth
  • fever
  • inflamed gums
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • increased sensitivity when exposed to extreme temperatures


Get your cracked tooth treated at Maroondah Dental Care

Attempting to repair a cracked tooth on your own is taking a chance that could lead to more severe consequences down the line. It’s best to connect with our trained and experienced dentists at Maroondah Dental Care for assistance. They are equipped with advanced technologies and know how to manage any complications that may arise during or after treatment, so you can have peace of mind knowing you’re in good hands! Don’t wait – give us a call now at (03) 9007 2532 if it’s an emergency, or book an appointment today.



Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. 





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How do you know if you have a cracked tooth?