Cracked teeth demonstrate many types of symptoms, including pain when chewing, temperature sensitivities, or even the release of biting pressure. It is also common for pain to come and go, making it difficult to diagnose the cause of discomfort.
Chewing can cause movement of the cracked pieces of your tooth, and the pulp within the tooth becomes irritated. At the same time, when biting pressure is released, the crack can close quickly, resulting in sharp pain. Eventually, the pulp will become damaged and tooth will consistently hurt, even when you are not chewing. It is possible that cracks can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, even if the tooth has had an Endodontic procedure in the past. Cracks can let infection spread to the bone and gum surrounding the problematic tooth.
Types of Cracks
These are tiny cracks that only affect the outer enamel of the tooth. These cracks are more common in adults. These types of cracks are superficial and are usually of no concern.
When a cusp becomes weakened, a fracture may result. The cusp may break off or be removed by a general dentist. A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp, so root canal may not be necessary. Your dentist will usually restore the tooth with a full crown. If after af few weeks after the full crown is placed you develop symptoms of discomfort that do not go away, your dentist may recommend a root canal. Endodontist make small access through crowns every day.
This type of crack extends from the chewing surface of the tooth and vertically migrates towards the root. In some cases, the crack may extend below the gum line. It is possible for the crack to extend further into the root. Damage to the pulp is common with cracked teeth. In this case, root canal treatment is usually necessary. A cracked tooth that is not treated will worsen, resulting in the loss of the tooth. Therefore, early detection is essential and so is proper crown placement.
A split tooth is usually the result of an untreated cracked tooth. It can be identified by a crack with distinct segments. This type of tooth can never be saved intact and extraction and implant or bridge placement would most likely be recommended to have a predictable and better prognosis.
Vertical Root Fracture
A vertical root fracture begins at the root and extends towards the chewing surface of the tooth. Unfortunately, they show minimal symptoms and may go unnoticed. Treatment involves endodontic surgery if a portion of the tooth can be saved by removal of the fractured root, if we feel this will not give you a good or predictable prognosis, the tooth will have to be extracted by an oral surgeon or your general dentist.