You could have the best oral health habits in the world, floss daily, brush regularly and visit your dentists when you should but nothing can prevent a cracked tooth. It is just one of those things with causes out of our control and while we can minimize risk as much as possible, accidents do happen.
With the obvious exception of bruxism (grinding teeth) and overly large fillings, the causes of cracked teeth are out of all of our control. They can be caused by trauma such as an accident, biting into something too hard, sudden changes in mouth temperature and ageing. Regular visits to the dentist can help prevent and treat bruxism and manage fillings, but the rest is out of our control.
Types of cracked teeth
As you might imagine, not all teeth crack the same way. There are in fact four main ways a tooth might crack.
- Cracked tooth – Where a crack runs from the biting surface of a tooth down towards the root. It can be a hairline crack or something more serious.
- Crazed tooth – Crazing is where tiny cracks are evident on tooth enamel. These are usually superficial and often need no dental intervention.
- Cracked cusp – The cups is the biting surface of the tooth which can become damaged after biting on something that is harder than the tooth. It often results in discomfort when eating.
- Split tooth – The most serious of cracked teeth is when the tooth splits into two. Vertical root fractures are serious and will need immediate attention.
All of these conditions should be assessed by your dentist but only a couple of them need active intervention.
Treatment of cracked teeth
There are a few treatment options dentists can use to address cracked teeth. Some are very simple and non-intrusive while others need a little more work.
- Dental bonding – A special resin is placed in and over the crack to fill the gap and to protect it from further harm. It can also restore the original shape of the tooth.
- Cosmetic contouring – Ideal for smaller cracks or chips, contouring polishes away the crack so it is no longer visible.
- Veneers – Dental veneers are specially made ‘caps’ that fit over the tooth to protect it.
- Crowns – Dental crowns are more involved and are used when a veneers is not suitable. It is a more serious ‘cap’ that fits over the damaged tooth.
- Replacement – Replacing a cracked tooth is only for the most serious case and will likely involve a bridge or dental implant.
In most cases, cracked teeth present no long-lasting health challenges and need no surgical intervention. Specific treatments would be discussed at a consultation.
If you have a cracked tooth or are looking for a holistic dentist, contact Aesthetic Family Dentistry today at 973-627-3617 to schedule a consultation. We can help!