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Cracked tooth syndrome (CTS) refers to a fractured tooth and is when a crack appears in a tooth. The crack may be tiny and harmless or, in the case of more significant damage, can cause a tooth to split or break.  

A cracked tooth is the third leading cause of cavities and periodontal disease and is a typical dental emergency

Anybody can crack a tooth, although tooth fractures are more prevalent in young children and seniors. If you think you may have cracked tooth syndrome, you must see an emergency dentist right away


What parts of a tooth can crack?

Teeth are comprised of two parts: The crown that is visible above the gum line and the roots that lie below the gums.

Both of these parts are made up of several layers:

  • Enamel – The hard white exterior surface
  • Dentin – the middle layer of a tooth 
  • Pulp – the soft tissue at the centre of a tooth containing a network of nerves and blood vessels

A tooth fracture can affect all or some of these layers. Treatment for cracked tooth syndrome depends on the location of the crack and its severity. 



A cracked tooth can cause pain or sensitivity, but some fractures don’t cause any symptoms. The earlier you get treatment, the more chance there is of repairing the tooth. So, it’s vital to call an emergency dentist. Not every cracked tooth is an urgent dental emergency, but it’s best that a dentist examines your tooth the same day. 


The causes of cracked tooth syndrome

The most common causes of a cracked tooth are:

  • Trauma, such as a fall, sports injury, bike or car accident, a blow to the face
  • A root canal or sizeable dental filling, that can weaken a tooth
  • Age – people over the age of 50 are prone to tooth cracks
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Biting hard foods such as ice, candy, popcorn kernels
  • Habits like chewing fingernails or gum


Can any tooth fracture?

Cracks or fractures are more likely to occur on the upper front teeth and the teeth towards the back of the mouth in the lower jaw. While an emergency dentist commonly treats a single cracked tooth, trauma or severe injury could cause multiple teeth to crack. 


What are the symptoms of cracked tooth syndrome?

While fractures don’t always cause symptoms, the ones to be aware of include the following:

  • Sensitivity to temperature changes or when eating something sweet
  • Pain that comes and goes when chewing
  • Toothache when you bite or chew
  • Swelling around the tooth



It’s not that easy to diagnose a cracked tooth. If the crack isn’t visible, the dentist will ask a patient about their dental history and the symptoms they are experiencing to try and form a diagnosis.

The dentist will examine the teeth and may apply a coloured dye that makes a crack more visible. They are also likely to use a magnifying glass and a dental explorer – a pointed instrument – which should catch any cracked or rough edges on the tooth’s surface. 

He or she will also check for inflammation during the examination since vertical cracks often cause gum irritation. They may ask the patient to bite down on something to pinpoint where the pain is coming from. 

Other diagnostic aids include 


Can cracked tooth syndrome be treated at home?

While you’re waiting for emergency dental treatment for your cracked tooth, you can try the following: 

  • Place an ice pack on the outside of your mouth to reduce any swelling
  • Take pain medication like Ibuprofen
  • Rinse your mouth with salt water to prevent infection


How does a dentist treat cracked tooth syndrome?

causes symptoms tooth cracked brighton le sandsDepending on the extent of the damage, cracked tooth treatments include:

  • Cosmetic contouring
  • Bonding
  • A veneer
  • A crown
  • Root canal 
  • Extraction


The dentist will recommend the most appropriate treatment and talk you through the process. Sometimes no treatment is needed for a cracked tooth, particularly if

  • There is no pain
  • Your appearance is not affected
  • You have a hairline crack or one that does not extend very far


If you suspect you have cracked tooth syndrome, get in touch with Bright-on-Bay Dental. We leave appointments free during the working day for patients with a dental emergency and are here to relieve your pain and make you feel more comfortable. Call us on (02) 9538 7028 or use our online booking service.




Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.






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