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Waters Family Dentistry

What happens if a tooth cracks?

If you have a cracked tooth you may experience sensitivity to biting or extreme temperatures. Sometimes the pain is not consistent. To diagnose a cracked tooth several tools can be used.  During your dental examination, the dentist may ask if you grind or clench your teeth or frequently chew hard foods. A dental x-ray can be made to check for decay. The dentist will visually and tactically examine the area. In addition, our office uses a “tooth sleuth” to check for biting sensitivity.  This plastic device is placed on isolated cusps of teeth and the patient is asked to bite together. A cracked tooth can often be difficult to diagnose as the cracks are sometimes internal and not detectable during an examination. If a cracked tooth progresses it may even cause a tooth fracture.


The treatment for a cracked tooth varies depending on the severity of the crack. Unlike broken bones, cracked teeth will not heal.  If the crack is isolated to the cusp or the area of the tooth above the gum line, the dentist can often repair the tooth with a filling or a crown.  However, if the crack extends farther into the tooth, a root canal and crown procedure may be needed. In some cases, the crack has spread so much that the tooth is not able to be saved.  

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