Some cracks in teeth can happen without causing any pain or discomfort. Without signals from the tooth that there is a problem, the tooth may stay vulnerable to further damage or to decay. A crack in a tooth not only affects the overall structural stability of the tooth, but it can be an opening for bacteria to invade through the fracture or crack. This makes the treatment of a crack important, so that the potential problems can be managed. It is important to understand that there are different types of tooth cracks that may be managed in different ways.
Minor cracks, also known as cosmetic craze lines, can affect the surface area of a tooth’s enamel without compromising the tooth itself. Craze lines only threaten the appearance of your smile, especially if stains develop along the cracks, but they do not threaten your enamel or your tooth’s structural integrity. Cosmetic treatment like bonding or veneers can help cover these lines.
The cusps of a tooth are the upraised portions of the chewing surface. If a piece of the tooth’s surface breaks off, it can often be treated by placing a dental crown over it. A fractured cusp usually does not reach the inner part of the tooth to cause any discomfort.
Typically, a tooth crack extends from the tooth’s crown vertically down towards its roots. It may expose the sensitive tissues to bacteria and infection, and may require a root canal treatment to protect the tooth. If a crack that extends below the gum line, it may require a tooth extraction to prevent damage to surrounding tissues.
If ignored, an official crack will continue to grow until the tooth splits into two distinct pieces. In typical cases, split teeth cannot be saved and often require extraction.
Unlike a conventional tooth crack, which begins at the crown, a vertical root fracture describes a crack that begins at your tooth’s root and extends up towards its crown. A vertical root fracture may not cause toothaches and pain, and often go unnoticed until the surrounding jawbone and gum tissue become infected.
Dr. Carmona can help you address a cracked tooth. To schedule a consultation at Austin Prosthodontics, call 512-250-9444. We also proudly welcome patients from Cedar Park, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, and all surrounding Texas communities.