Upon discovering a dental mishap, such as a cracked tooth, our minds swirl with a flurry of questions, the predominant one being, “Does a cracked tooth need to be pulled?” Dental science and oral health can sometimes seem as confounding as navigating a maze with multiple twists and turns.

However, we can chart a reliable path with a deeper understanding and clearer insights. So, let’s embark on this journey to untangle the complexities of cracked teeth and establish an informed course of action.

Demystifying Dental Cracks: Diverse Types and Their Implications



Before we embark on possible treatments, it’s pivotal to realise that dental cracks aren’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. The range spans from barely noticeable hairline fractures to alarming cracks that plunge deep into the very foundation of the tooth. Grasping the nature and severity of these cracks will guide the therapeutic route.

Craze Lines

Think of these as minor scratches on your car’s surface. Predominantly affecting the outer shield of the tooth—the enamel—craze lines are often cosmetic concerns. They don’t penetrate deeper layers, hence posing no immediate threat. While these tiny fissures might mar the tooth’s appearance, they typically don’t demand medical attention apart from potential cosmetic remedies.

Fractured Cusp

Imagine a scenario where you suddenly experience a biting pain after a dental filling procedure. This could be the tale-tell sign of a fractured cusp. Although it might not venture deep enough to jeopardise the tooth’s pulp, the discomfort can be hard to ignore. In such instances, a dental crown often comes to the rescue, encapsulating the tooth and providing relief.

Vertical Root Fractures

These are the silent perpetrators. Beginning discreetly at the root and stealthily making their way upwards, they’re often masked in the initial stages. However, the pain they unleash can be formidable. What’s more, they pose a risk of evolving into gum disease, making timely detection and treatment paramount.

Split Tooth

Envision a tree split down the middle after a storm—that’s the dental equivalent of a split tooth. Characterised by a crack that meanders from the tooth’s crown, navigating its way to the root, the prospects for such teeth can be grim. Depending on how extensive the crack is, a dentist might have to make the challenging decision to extract part or all of the tooth.

Chipped Tooth

It is a classic dental predicament, especially among spirited kids and adventurous adults. A chipped tooth might initially seem benign, particularly if the chip is minute. However, intervention becomes essential if it hinders your bite, starts affecting neighbouring teeth, or becomes a reservoir for bacteria.

Reading the Signs: Deep Diving into the Symptoms of Cracked Teeth

While cracks in teeth can sometimes be minute and difficult for the naked eye to catch, they often manifest through telltale symptoms. Recognising these early on can guide you to seek prompt dental care:

Sharp Pain

It’s not just an occasional sting. For many, this pain is intermittent, making it perplexing. One might enjoy a pain-free experience for days, only to be interrupted by a sudden sharp pain when biting into an apple or munching on hard foods. This pain arises when the teeth’ cracked sections move, irritating the inner tooth’s structure. The sensation can range from a minor annoyance to severe pain that demands immediate attention.

does a cracked tooth need to be pulled symptomsSensitivity

This is one of the most common symptoms of a cracked tooth. You might feel that sudden jolt when sipping a hot cuppa or enjoying an icy treat. The discomfort can vary from mild sensitivity to excruciating pain. As the crack exposes the tooth’s inner layers, it becomes susceptible to hot and cold temperatures, causing this sudden onset of sensitivity.


An inflamed or swollen gum line around a particular tooth is more than just a visual concern. It could be the body’s response to an infection, potentially indicating that the tooth’s pulp, which houses nerves and blood vessels, is under siege. When left untreated, this can lead to more severe complications, including abscess formation.

To Pull or Not to Pull: Navigating the Treatment Crossroads

The question, “Does a cracked tooth need to be pulled?” can be daunting. While pulling the tooth might seem like a straightforward solution, the dental realm offers a myriad of treatment avenues:


Think of this as patchwork for your tooth. Especially effective for small cracks or chipped teeth, dental bonding involves the dentist artfully using a tooth-coloured plastic resin. This resin fills and seals the crack, restoring both the tooth’s structure and aesthetic appeal.

Root Canal Therapy

Delving deeper into the tooth, if the crack has jeopardised the pulp, a root canal treatment comes into play. This intricate procedure involves removing the damaged or infected pulp, meticulously cleaning the tooth’s inner sanctum, and then sealing it to prevent further complications.

Dental Crown

Acting like a protective cap, a dental crown envelops the cracked tooth. It’s an ideal remedy for fractured cusps or when a significant chunk of the tooth is amiss. Crafted to match your other teeth, it restores functionality and ensures that your smile remains unbroken.

Tooth Extraction

There are instances where the damage is beyond repair, as with some severe vertical root fractures. Here, extraction might be the only feasible route. But fear not; modern dentistry offers solutions like dental implants or bridges to fill the void left by the missing tooth, ensuring your smile remains intact.

Prevention: The Proactive Shield Against Cracked Teeth

It’s always prudent to pre-empt issues rather than grapple with them afterwards. Here’s how you can fortify your defences against cracked teeth:

  1. does a cracked tooth need to be pulled painAvoid Temptations: It might be hard to resist, but steering clear of hard objects like ice or candies can significantly reduce the risk.
  2. Suit Up with a Mouthguard: Especially if you’re into contact sports or nighttime teeth grinding is a concern. A mouthguard acts as a buffer, absorbing shocks and preventing potential cracks.
  3. Commit to Regular Check-ups: This can’t be stressed enough. Regular visits to your dentist ensure that minor issues are nipped in the bud way before they escalate into major concerns.

Understanding why teeth crack can empower individuals to take preventive measures. For instance, habits like munching on ice cubes or biting down on hard candy exert excessive pressure on the teeth. Similarly, large fillings can compromise the natural tooth structure, making them more prone to cracks.

And we can’t overlook the impact of sudden temperature changes in the mouth—like gulping down a hot drink and immediately chasing it with a cold beverage. Accidents, sports injuries, or any trauma to the tooth can also be a precursor to cracks.

In Conclusion: Navigating the Path Forward

Cracked teeth can be daunting, but every crack doesn’t necessarily lead to a tooth extraction. Early detection and timely treatment are crucial. If you suspect a cracked tooth or experience symptoms like sensitivity to hot and cold or sharp pain, seeing a dentist immediately is essential.

For professional dental care, guidance, and state-of-the-art treatment options tailored to your unique needs, call Maroonah Dental Care on 03 9007 2532 to set an appointment. Your oral health is paramount, and we’re here to ensure it remains in optimal condition.

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