Often, teeth crack when subjected to the stress of chewing hard foods, ice, or hard objects, or just from normal chewing. Teeth with or without restorations (fillings) may exhibit this problem, but teeth restored with typical silver alloy or tooth-colored restorations are most susceptible. Older persons have more cracked teeth than younger people.
Symptoms and signs include the following:
1. Pain on chewing
2. Pain on cold-air application
3. Pain when eating sweets
4. X-ray evidence of the problem is sometimes not present
5. Usually, dental decay is not present.
6. Easy verification of the crack by the dentist when the tooth is prepared for restoration
Treatment of Cracked Teeth
1. Simple Crack: The majority of cracked teeth (estimates are about 9 out of 10) can be treated by placement of a simple crown (cap) on the tooth. When the tooth is prepared for the crown and a temporary restoration is placed, the pain usually leaves within a few days. If this is the case with your tooth, we will place the final crown without a problem on your next appointment. The condition should then be solved.
2. Complex Crack: Occasionally, (about 1 in 10) the tooth cracks into the pulp (nerve) of the tooth or deeply below bone. If pain persists after placement of the temporary crown, you may have a crack into the pulp or bone support of the affected tooth. This tooth may require endodontics (root canal therapy) before the crown is placed. This procedure requires about two additional appointments before the crown is placed and is less predictable than simple cracks.
3. Tooth Cracked in Half: Occasionally, a tooth cracks into two separate pieces, requiring removal of the entire tooth, or removal of one of the pieces, root canal therapy, and a crown on the remaining piece.