Do All Types of Tooth Cracks Need to Be Repaired?

Do All Types of Tooth Cracks Need to Be Repaired?

Cracked teeth are common, and they tend to become more common with age. When a crack is large, it’s easy to understand why prompt treatment is necessary. But what about tiny cracks or hairline fractures? Do they need treatment, too? Yes.

With offices in Statesville and Hickory, North Carolina, Robert Scott Nance, DDS, MS, PA, restores cracked teeth using advanced techniques to preserve tooth function and avoid more serious problems. Here’s why treating a cracked tooth is important, regardless of the size of the crack.

How cracked teeth happen

Teeth are “designed” to withstand a lot of pressure and strain. Every time you bite or chew, your teeth absorb that pressure, thanks to the tooth’s complex anatomy.

When most of us think of teeth, we think of the enamel layer that we see. That layer plays a critical role in strengthening teeth and preventing bacteria from entering the tooth and causing decay. But underneath the enamel is a durable layer of tissue called dentin. Yellower than the outer layer of enamel, dentin is made up of water and both organic and inorganic compounds that distribute strain and help prevent cracking.

But as tough as they are, teeth aren’t impervious to damage. Biting into a hard substance, being hit in the mouth, and grinding your teeth can all cause cracks. As your teeth age, wear and tear make them more prone to cracks, and naturally thin or weak enamel can contribute to cracking too. Cavities and fillings can also increase the risk of tooth cracks and fractures.

Why prompt treatment is important

Cracks provide an entry point for bacteria, allowing germs to reach the deeper layers of the tooth where they can cause infections and cavities. Without treatment, continued pressure on the tooth can cause even a tiny crack to turn into a major fracture or a deep abscess.

The type of treatment depends on lots of factors, including the health of the tooth, the depth of the crack, and its location. Teeth with cracks on the chewing surfaces may be treated with a regular filling, while larger cracks or cracks that extend down the side of the tooth often need a root canal or crown. Some cracks may require extraction.

Very superficial cracks, called craze lines, may not need immediate treatment; instead, Dr. Nance may recommend observation to ensure the crack doesn’t widen. In these instances, regular dental visits are especially important.

Any type of crack — even tiny ones — can cause tooth pain, especially when you bite or chew or when you come in contact with hot or cold temperatures. In any case, if you have a crack or suspect you might, it’s important to have it evaluated right away.

Custom care for your oral health

Tooth cracks might not seem like a big deal, especially if they’re not causing symptoms. But any type of crack has the potential to weaken the tooth and lead to far more serious problems.

If you have a cracked tooth, book an appointment over the phone with Dr. Nance and his team today. 

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