It’s quite common for us to see patients with cracked or fractured teeth here at Dental Care of Mid Florida. The longer natural teeth remain in one’s mouth and work daily to grind food down, the greater the potential to crack one’s teeth. Teeth work incredibly hard! Several times throughout the day the teeth bite hard objects, grind things down, and clench or strain at times. These daily tendencies can put the teeth under a lot of pressure and render them susceptible to cracking and fracturing.
It can be quite painful when the tooth enamel cracks – sometimes the pain is debilitating! Once a tooth cracks, it can take a person time before fully realizing the tooth’s damage. As the tooth continues to chew and bite it will widen the crack, cause more damage, and increase the pain. This action may cause the pulp and inner parts of the tooth to be exposed and become irritated. If left untreated, the damage to the pulp becomes irreversible leading to constant pain. In addition, this infection may spread to affect the soft tissue surrounding the tooth and even harm the jaw bone.
What are the symptoms of a cracked tooth?
- Pain when chewing
- Consistent pain with unexplained cause
- hot and cold sensitivity
- Inability to locate the pain directly because it is spread throughout the mouth
Types of Tooth Cracks
A tooth gets cracked many different ways. The type of crack reveals what type of treatment Dr. Foresee or Dr. Owen should perform here at Dental Care of Mid Florida.
The Dentists can often perform root canal therapy to a natural tooth that is salvageable; meaning that the fracture or crack does not go too deep and is not spreading damaging to surrounding areas.
If the tooth is badly damaged, however, we will have to extract it.
How We Treat Cracked Teeth
Root Canal therapy – When the tooth’s root is affected we employ root canal therapy to repair the crack. In root canal treatment we remove the pulp, vessels and nerves and fill the area with gutta-percha. Afterward, we place a crown or filling on the tooth to stabilize it and allow the tooth to function normal again.
Extraction – When the tooth crack is splitting the tooth and affecting other areas, the tooth is too damaged to save and we extract it. To restore the tooth we can do bridges, implants, and partial dentures. These restorations will restore normal eating, biting and speaking habits.
Here is an Overview of Common Types of Tooth Cracks:
They are in order of least damaging to most damaging.
Crazes – These are generally tiny vertical cracks that aren’t particularly dangerous to teeth. Crazes are more like scratches on the tooth’s surface and dentist consider them normal and not alarming. It’s rare that we will treat crazes, but we can perform cosmetic treatments to lessen the negative aesthetic impact of crazes.
Oblique supragingival – These cracks affect the crown of the tooth but nothing else. The affected part of the tooth will usually break off causing minimal pain. The reason oblique supragingival cracks are hardly noticeable is because the tooth pulp doesn’t get harmed.
Oblique subgingival – These cracks affect the crown of the tooth and also extend beyond the gum line. They will often damage down to the jawbone too. IN the instance when a piece of the tooth breaks, it still remains attached until the dentists remove it. Oblique subgingival cracks are painful and may require a combination of periodontal surgery (to expose the crown), and endodontic treatment to place a crown or other restorative device over it.
Vertical furcation cracks – These are cracks that occur when the tooth’s roots separate. Vertical furcation cracks usually affect the tooth’s nerve. Our dentists can usually save a tooth with vertical furcation cracks since the tooth is often not separated completely.
Oblique root cracks – These cracks do not affect the tooth’s surface. The damage is found below the gum line and jawbone only. A Root canal therapy may be possible depending on how close the fracture is to the tooth’s surface. Often extraction is the only option for repairing oblique root cracks.
Vertical apical root cracks – These cracks occur at the tip of the root known as the apex. Vertical apical root cracks do not require extraction but many patients ask for an extraction due to the severe pain they experience. Our dentists will perform root canal therapy to minimize the discomfort for a while, but eventually we extract teeth with Vertical apical root cracks.
While cracked teeth are no fun to encounter, they are quite common dental problems and we have many solutions to restore your teeth to health again. Please give us a call today at (863) 382-9090 to schedule your appointment or find answers to your cracked tooth questions.