Fractured Tooth Management

A cracked tooth (known as a fractured tooth in dentistry) occurs from any number of circumstances. Whether they are the result of trauma or abnormal occlusion, cracks and fractures can be superficial, or they can extend deeper and lead to more complex problems. If your pain is suspected to be caused by a fracture, our endodontic team can help identify the nature of the problem. And if your tooth does indeed have a  crack, our endodontist will guide you towards the best treatment recommendations for your condition.

VIDEO: Understanding Fractured Tooth (Cracked Tooth) Symptoms and Treatment

5 Main Types of Fractured Teeth

Most cracked teeth fit into one of these five categories:

1. Fractured Cusp

Fractured Tooth - Fractured Cusp Diagram

A fractured cusp usually results from the cusp being too weak to withstand normal bite pressure. The portion of the tooth affected may rupture and need to be removed by a dental specialist. Endodontic evaluation is essential, because this type of injury may cause damage to the pulp. A crown is then assembled on top of your tooth to protect it from further damage.

2. Split Tooth

Fractured Tooth - Split Tooth Diagram Example

A split tooth consists of distinct segments. The ability that an endodontist has to salvage a split tooth depends on:

– The extent of the damage.

– The position of the segments.

– The endodontic treatment options available.

Coordinated treatment and restoration efforts by a qualified endodontist and your dentist may save the tooth.

3. Vertical Root Fractures

Fractured Tooth - Vertical Root Fracture Diagram Example

Vertical root fractures are cracks that have been left untreated and now result in an infection of the bone and gums. Dependent on the tooth and the level of infection, patients can either have an endodontic surgery to save the tooth or completely extract it.

4. Cracked Tooth

A crack that originates at the chewing surface to the root of the tooth is considered a cracked tooth. The crack may continue below the gumline, and this type of injury often causes damage to the tooth’s nerve. A root canal may be necessary. If left untreated, the condition may get worse and cause chronic pain. Early detection is crucial to ensure the best possible outcome.

5. Craze Lines

Craze lines refer to the cracks that are only on the outer enamel of the tooth and rarely warrant concern.

How do you treat a cracked tooth?

Treatment for cracked teeth depends largely on the type and severity of the crack. Our specialists, Dr. Mindo Lee or Dr. Stephen Park, will closely examine your tooth under high magnification and utilize high-tech imaging hardware to quickly get you on the road to recovery. Often, root canal therapy is the best treatment for a cracked tooth and can help save the natural tooth before the issue becomes more complex. If the damage of the tooth is severe, we recommend extraction.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fractured Teeth

Primary Causes

A Fractured Tooth is often the result of:

  1. Trauma
  2. Improper alignment of teeth when you bite (known as abnormal occlusion)

Regardless of the cause, cracks and fractures can be superficial, or they can extend deeper and lead to more complex problems.

How do you know if you have a fractured tooth?

As with most conditions, there are symptoms that indicate you may have a cracked tooth. The most common symptoms of a fractured tooth are:

  • Pain when biting or chewing.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend that you schedule a consultation with your dentist or with Los Angeles Center For Endodontics. We are experts in diagnosing and treating cracked teeth.