A guide to cracked teeth and how to treat them (by type)

Cracks represent one of the most common forms of trauma that teeth can sustain. Not all cracked teeth present in the same ways. Some cracks may be more cosmetic in nature, whereas others can be quite serious and may threaten the tooth’s structural integrity. The intervention or treatment that may be necessary for you depends on what our team at Orion Dental Specialties finds during a visit to our office in Cypress, Texas. With prompt and appropriate care by our dentists, Drs. Farnam and Melanie Farzam, we may be able to preserve severely cracked or fractured teeth and avoid the need for extraction and the replacement of the lost tooth.

An overview of the types of cracks and potential treatment options are as follows:

  • Craze lines are very shallow imperfections isolated to the outermost enamel covering of the teeth. They can arise or become more prominent due to wear and tear associated with the natural aging process. Usually, nothing has to be done beyond cosmetic dentistry procedures to cover up or minimize their appearance.
  • A fractured cusp refers to the “cusps” or points or tips of the teeth. Breaks or fractures to these areas primarily affect the visible white part of the tooth or its natural crown. We can usually restore the damaged tooth to health with a new, lab-made dental crown. The crown fits on top of a tooth that has been cleaned and reshaped and is free of damage. Rarely are cusp fractures associated with damage to the innermost pulp tissue (a situation that would require endodontic care, such as root canal therapy).
  • Yes, a tooth can crack or split right down the middle. Such split teeth may be “saved” at least in part with nonsurgical or surgical endodontic therapies followed by dental restorations or crowns. This condition is often caused by more modest cracks that go untreated, which underscores the need to address these problems quickly to prevent the need for extraction and the loss of the tooth.
  • Unlike other cracks mentioned here, a vertical root fracture originates in the roots of the teeth. It extends upward through the crown and toward the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Due to the tricky nature of this cracking (symptoms are often modest, if apparent at all), teeth with these fractures are typically removed. Then, we want to “start over” with prompt tooth replacement with a bridge or implant-supported crown. In some cases, removing the damaged root can save the tooth. So, endodontic therapy may come to the rescue in certain instances here, too.

Do not wait when it comes to concerns or chips, lines, cracks, fractures, and other types of damage. The sooner we can stop the progression of the problem, the better, as we can prevent the severe damage that could lead to the loss of the affected tooth. Additionally, many cracks or fractures can be prevented by addressing potential threats such as chronic teeth grinding and sports-related injuries with appliances like nightguards and sports mouthguards.

Stay ahead of the problem by scheduling a consultation with Orion Dental Specialties today. Our team in Cypress, TX, can be reached at (832) 906-8313.