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You may not realise it, but a damaged tooth isn’t always painful. Many people don’t recognise they have a broken tooth until urgent dental care is required. That’s why it’s so vital to be conscious of the different symptoms and act quickly for treatment if needed.

Why does a tooth crack?

Tooth cracks can occur for various reasons, or even sometimes without explanation. To the surprise of many people, it is quite normal to have minor fissures on their tooth’s surface – and these do not cause any issues until cracked tooth syndrome strikes abruptly.

General wear and tear

Our teeth are constantly exposed to various textures and substances that can erode the enamel daily. As time passes, a person’s tooth may become weaker due to this wear-and-tear process, and its susceptibility to fracture increases drastically as one ages over 50 years old.

Biting hard foods

Eating difficult snacks can place an immense amount of strain on the tooth structure, potentially leading to fractures or chips. To avoid this from happening, it’s best to steer clear of hard foods such as ice, candy, unpopped corn kernels, fruit pits and bones – all of which put too much pressure on your teeth when biting down.

Dental injury

A hard blow to the face during playtime can easily fracture one or more teeth, while accidents like car crashes, tumbles from bicycles and high places, and even tripping–all have the potential to crack your teeth.

Excessive teeth grinding

Constantly grinding your teeth while you sleep can be hazardous to the long-term health of your smile. The intense pressure exerted by this habit wears away enamel, leaving teeth vulnerable to fractures and pain. If you struggle with this issue, consult your dental practitioner for a mouth guard to protect against harmful tooth erosion.

Large filling

Although dental fillings are intended to improve oral health, they can have the opposite effect if not done properly. If a filling is too large, it can strain the walls of your tooth and weaken them to such an extent that it may fracture.

Why does a cracked tooth hurt?

A cracked tooth provides the perfect pathway for bacteria to invade the pulp tissue situated deep inside your tooth, causing inflammation and a dreaded abscess. What’s worse, if this split is severe or wide enough, food particles can also become lodged in it -only further aggravating your already damaged pulp. As poor dental health weakens you with pain, suffering from an unhealthy pulp should not be taken lightly.

Cracked teeth can vary in severity, ranging from minuscule hairline fractures to a fractured cusp. In the most severe cases, these cracks extend all the way down to the tooth’s root.

Types of a cracked Tooth

cracked tooth le sands

Craze lines

As you age, small cracks called crazed lines may appear on the surfaces of your teeth where you chew. Although these crevices in the enamel generally have no effect on oral health and only affect the outer layer of a tooth, they are more of an aesthetic nuisance than anything else.



Fractured cusp

A fractured cusp is a crack that begins on the chewing surface of your tooth, extending to one or more cusps. Not only does it affect the enamel layer but also further layers beneath. To ensure you don’t suffer any additional destruction.

Cracked tooth

A crack in a tooth emanates from the biting surface and can extend all the way down to below the gum line into the root. While it won’t be split apart per se, chances are that some of its inner structures may already have been damaged.

Split tooth

Time is of the essence if you experience a split or crack in your tooth. A split tooth involves a full partition along its crown, whether it be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal and can cause immense oral discomfort. Unfortunately, most instances are not salvageable and often necessitate extraction.

Vertical root fracture

Vertical root fractures (VRF) can be a severe dental issue if not treated in time. These cracks usually run down the tooth’s roots, below the gum line and into its core, which makes them incredibly difficult to detect without an X-ray or CT scan. If left untreated, VRFs can cause inflammation of gum tissue leading to potential teeth loss; yet with timely diagnosis followed by treatments like root canal therapy and surgery, these issues are entirely preventable.

Symptoms of a cracked tooth

Visibly split tooth or tooth fracture

From chips to wear along the tooth’s edges, this damage may be visible.

Inconsistent pain

Pain that varies in intensity and is primarily triggered by cold, hot, sweet or sour food items. This distress can be felt throughout the head, neck and ear areas.

Swollen gums

If left untreated, a cracked tooth can enable bacteria to penetrate the gums surrounding it and eventually cause an infection. You may experience swelling or tenderness in the area around your broken tooth if this happens.


Unwelcome sensations can be evoked by extreme temperatures, especially the chilly kind.

cracked tooth symptoms le sands Additionally, being particularly sensitive to sweet foods but with no apparent decay or degradation of said items could also occur.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, it is critical that you reach out for professional help as soon as possible.

Timely diagnosis and treatment are essential in order to prevent worsening damage while keeping your dental health intact.

Diagnosis of a cracked tooth

To accurately diagnose a fractured tooth, your dentist will likely utilise both physical examination and visual inspection in conjunction with X-ray imaging.

Physical exam

During an examination, your dentist will take note of the fissure’s depth and search for any symptoms of infection, tenderness in the gums or inflammation.

Visual inspection

Your dentist will conduct an all-encompassing examination of your mouth and teeth using a dental mirror or explorer, searching for signs of discolouration or cracks in the afflicted tooth.

X-Ray imaging

Utilising X-ray imaging, your dentist can accurately determine where the fracture is and how far it extends. Depending on the severity of the crack, additional CT or MRI scans may be necessary for further inspection.

Dental dye

To ensure any and all possible fractures or defects in your enamel are detected, your dentist may opt to use a dental dye. This highlighting agent can be used to pick up on even the most minute of invisible cracks that would otherwise go undetected. After pinpointing exactly where the crack is located, along with its depth and size -your dentist will recommend what type of treatment should take place next for optimal care.

A cracked tooth can cause long-term damage to the structural integrity of your teeth and, if left untreated, could lead to further complications. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that you make an appointment with a dental professional immediately upon noticing any symptoms associated with a cracked tooth.

How to manage a cracked tooth at home

If you think a damaged tooth is the source of your suffering, it’s essential to contact your dentist promptly. Nonetheless, until then, there are things you can do to lessen some of the discomforts.

Avoid chewing on the affected tooth

If you find yourself with a cracked tooth, it is essential to be cautious when biting or chewing, as this can cause additional destruction and result in further pain. Breaking off pieces of the enamel due to pressure from eating could make your condition worse.

Rinse with warm salt water

Warmed salt water can help relieve inflammation and assist in the healing of gums around a cracked tooth. To make a rinse, add 1 teaspoon of oceanic sea salt to an 8-ounce cup filled with warm water, and swish for about 30 seconds before expelling it out.

Keep the chipped tooth in milk

Place the chipped tooth in a cup of milk to safeguard and preserve it. Doing so will make reattachment more straightforward for your dentist if necessary. Additionally, take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) to alleviate discomfort – particularly anti-inflammatory drugs like acetaminophen.

Treatment for a cracked tooth

The time it takes to treat a cracked tooth can vary significantly, depending on where the crack is located, what kind of fracture it is and how large or deep the breakage has gone. Here are some common treatments for cracks in teeth:

Dental bonding

The fractured tooth is encased with a composite resin material that adheres to the enamel, recovering its strength and stability through this process.

Dental crowns

A dental crown is designed to fit perfectly over a cracked tooth, protecting it from further damage. Crafted with porcelain or other materials that seamlessly blend in with your existing teeth, this restoration restores your smile’s aesthetics and structure.

Root canal treatment

If the cracked tooth is extremely damaged, a root canal may be required to treat any existing infection and ultimately save the tooth.

Tooth extraction

If a cracked tooth can no longer be salvaged, it may need to be extracted. Your dentist will then work with you to determine the best way to restore your missing tooth.

Cosmetic contouring

Surprisingly, some minorly cracked teeth may not necessitate significant restorative treatments. To rework the tooth without compromising its aesthetics, cosmetic contouring is a practical and desirable solution.

Reattach chipped tooth

If a tiny fragment of your enamel has broken off, fret not; it may be possible for your dentist to restore the chip with dental cement.


If you are dealing with cracked or discoloured teeth, porcelain veneers could be the perfect solution. Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain made to fit over your teeth and restore their strength while giving them an attractive appearance.

No matter which method you select for treating a fractured tooth, it is vital that you follow up regularly with your dentist to ensure the fracture has healed correctly and watch out for any additional damage or decay.

Why choose Bright on Bay Dental for a cracked tooth?

Here at Bright-On Bay Dental, we understand the significance of having a healthy and dazzling smile. That’s why our friendly dentists provide comprehensive treatment plans for cracked teeth with advanced technology to ensure your teeth stay beautiful. Our top-notch equipment allows us to accurately diagnose cracks in your tooth structure so you can get back to smiling confidently without delay – what are you waiting for? Don’t linger another second – Schedule an appointment with us today. 


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




Cracked tooth syndrome

Cracked tooth