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A cracked tooth is a tooth that has become broken.
No. Teeth can crack in several different ways:
Many things can cause teeth to crack, such as:
The signs can be difficult to spot and the symptoms will vary. You may get pain from time to time when you are chewing, especially when you release the biting pressure. Extreme temperatures, especially cold, may cause discomfort. Or you may be sensitive to sweetness, but with no signs of decay. A small area of the gum near the affected tooth may swell.
If the pain is severe, take pain relief like you would normally take for a headache. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medication.
Unfortunately, dental x-rays sometimes don't show up the cracked tooth. This is because the x-ray beam must be parallel to the crack before it can penetrate it.
However, sometimes other signs of a crack may show up. With a vertical root fracture, if the crack has been there long enough, vertical bone loss near to the root can be seen. Your dentist may use a bright light or a magnifying glass to find the crack. They may also use a special dye to follow the course of the crack.
Yes. It is important to get advice as soon as possible to help the treatment be more effective. If they are not treated, cracked teeth can lead to the death of the nerve, and an abscess might grow. The tooth could need root canal treatment or even taking out. In severe cases the tooth can actually split in two. If this happens your dentist will not be able to save the tooth and it will need to be taken out.
In some cases the tooth may need to be taken out, but not always. So it is important to get advice as soon as possible.
The type of treatment depends on the amount of damage to the tooth. Ask your dental team what is the best treatment for you:
Unlike broken bones, the crack in a tooth will never heal completely. After treatment, a crack may get worse and you could still lose the tooth. It is still important that you get treatment, because most cracked teeth can work normally for years after treatment. Your dental team will be able to tell you more about your particular problem and recommend a treatment.
Not altogether, but there are some precautions you can take:
The cost will vary depending on what treatment you need. There may be extra costs if there are complications and you need more treatment. Ask your dental team for a treatment plan and a written estimate before you start treatment.
If you need free and impartial dental advice please do not hesitate to contact our Dental Helpline or call 01788 539780 (local rate call in the UK).