Sports accidents, random falls, bad oral habits such as grinding or clenching teeth, and crunching on hard foods can all lead to fractured teeth. Cracked teeth should be treated as soon as possible, because if left unchecked the crack can extend through the whole tooth. If that ends up happening, it would force immediate treatment with either root canal therapy and a crown or removal of the tooth.
The appropriate treatment will be determined by the crack’s location and severity. Each type of crack is characterized by its location in the tooth. For example, a fractured cusp is when part of the chewing surfaces is broken off, but the root is unaffected. A fractured tooth has a vertical crack beginning at the biting surface and extending in the direction of the root. If that sort of crack is left alone, it can end up splitting the tooth completely. A fracture that begins at the roots is also possible, but those are much harder to detect.
Depending on the location of the crack, a fractured cusp can be treated with either a filling or a crown. A cracked tooth is treatable with a crown if the crack does not extend below the gumline – those will need to be extracted – or into the pulp. If it extends into the pulp, the tooth might be saved by a root canal treatment and crown. A split tooth cannot be saved intact, but part of it might, depending on the fracture’s location and extent. A tooth with a fractured root will most likely be extracted, but can occasionally be saved by a procedure that removes the cracked portion.
If you’ve recently cracked a tooth, contact Smiley Dental Fort Worth in Ft. Worth, Texas, today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lynh Pham. We will be happy to assist you.