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Can You Fix a Cracked Tooth? Know Your Treatment Options

The enamel that coats your teeth is the toughest tissue in your body. It protects teeth from damage and helps prevent infection and oral health problems. Despite its resilience, enamel can’t safeguard your teeth from dental accidents. Whether chewing on your favourite hard lollies or suffering an accidental blow while playing sports, your teeth can be broken or cracked.

If you’ve noticed damage to one of your teeth, you’re probably wondering, can a cracked tooth be repaired? Fortunately, cracked teeth are a common and treatable issue. At No Gaps Dental, we offer several effective solutions, such as dental crowns, veneers, root canals and so much more, ensuring you can get the treatment you need for your cracked tooth repair. 

The Different Types of Cracked Teeth

Approximately one in twenty people fracture a tooth every year. While a cracked tooth is a recurrent problem, the crack’s severity can vary. There are several types of cracked teeth:

  • Decay-induced

Tooth decay is the process of a tooth breaking down due to acidic bacteria. The bacteria break down the tooth enamel, the hard outer layer of the tooth. Once the enamel is gone, the bacteria work on the next layer of the tooth, called dentin. Bacteria can cause the dentin to weaken and break, which can lead to a cracked tooth.

So, while tooth decay doesn’t always cause a cracked tooth, it is one of the most common factors.

  • Craze lines

Craze lines are minor cracks in tooth enamel. They appear as brown, yellow, or grey vertical lines in your tooth and are common in adults, typically occurring from years of wear and tear. Other causes include bruxism (teeth grinding), tooth misalignment, nail biting and chewing hard food.

Although technically cracks, craze lines indicate shallow damage and don’t cause much discomfort. However, they can be unsightly. While they are not a significant cause for concern, they can make your teeth more vulnerable to decay and weaken your enamel over time. If you notice craze lines, the most common solutions include dental bonding, professional teeth whitening or dental veneers.

  • Fractured cusp

The tooth’s cusp is an elevated crown area that helps with chewing. It gives your tooth more surface area, making it easier to break down food. Biting into a hard piece of food can cause your cusp to crack or break off. A minor crack isn’t usually painful since your tooth’s cusp doesn’t reach the pulp or nerves.

Depending on the extent of the break, a fractured cusp can be treated with a filling or dental crown. We strongly suggest contacting an emergency dentist for immediate treatment if you are in pain.

  • Vertically cracked tooth 

Vertical cracks originate at the tooth’s root or gumline and extend through the chewing surface. With severe cracks, early detection is critical for saving the tooth. An infection can develop inside your tooth, sometimes resulting in extraction.

  • Split Tooth 

While some evidence suggests that tiny craze lines can self-heal through a process known as remineralisation, larger tooth cracks cannot. So even if you do restore a tooth — cosmetically or otherwise — the damage remains.

A split usually occurs if a tooth has been cracked for a long time. The fracture expands from the tooth’s surface below the gum line, separating the tooth into fragments. When a cracked tooth is damaged to this extent, it may not be salvageable.

However, depending on the extent of the crack and if your dentist can save a portion of the tooth, a dental crown can be fitted to complete the restoration.

  • Cracked root

A cracked root is another serious dental issue that requires immediate treatment from an emergency dentist. It is a crack that extends from the tooth’s root to the tip. Left untreated can lead to a dental abscess, bone deterioration and tooth loss.

Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth to Look Out for

Cracked teeth can lead to further oral complications if left unchecked. Your mouth is home to approximately 6 billion bacteria (over 700 different varieties), some good, some bad. As you can imagine, a crack in the surface of your tooth makes it easy for bacteria to enter.

You can save your cracked teeth by visiting your dentist as soon as possible and avoid more costly dental procedures or tooth extraction.

Early detection is crucial for a successful restoration when treating a cracked tooth. Common symptoms of a cracked tooth include:

  • Discomfort (particularly when chewing or eating)
  • Increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sugary foods
  • Inflammation
  • Toothache
  • Visible lines or cracks

How to Fix a Cracked Tooth — Treatment Options

You may have heard of remineralising treatments and wondered whether these are successful at healing cracked teeth. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Cracked teeth do not heal, but various dental treatments can repair the damage of a cracked tooth to ensure it remains functional for many years to come.

If you’re unsure if a cracked front tooth can be fixed, the type of cracked tooth repair treatment you’ll require depends on the location and extent of the crack. When you notice a potential issue, consult your dentist to determine the best action. Understanding your options for how to fix a cracked tooth can alleviate any concerns you might have and help you work with your dentist to find the ideal treatment.

Depending on your specific issue, your dentist may recommend the following treatments:

  • Fillings

Fillings are a standard treatment for cracked teeth, made from various materials, including gold, amalgam and composite resins. Most people opt for tooth-coloured filling material these days rather than metallic, but metal fillings are longer-lasting and are still popular.

  • Inlays/Onlays

These are for cracked teeth where a filling is unsuitable but where the damage is not extensive enough for a crown. Inlays and onlays are made in a lab and applied by a dentist. Onlays restore the biting surfaces of the teeth.

  • Root canal treatment

If your cracked tooth causes an infection in your tooth’s pulp, which contains the nerve, you’ll need a root canal treatment. An emergency dentist uses this treatment to alleviate the pain you may have been experiencing. The cracked tooth may result from a deep cavity, trauma to the tooth or repeated dental procedures.

This process involves removing the infected or dead tissue from inside your pulp chamber using small tools called endodontic files. Your dentist will open the tooth’s crown, remove the infected pulp and disinfect the pulp chamber.

After disinfecting the site, your tooth is sealed with gutta-percha (natural latex) and shaped using composite resin. In cases where tooth portions are lost due to infection, you may require a dental crown to restore its look and functionality.

Root canal treatment usually takes one or two visits to the dentist. After root canal treatment, a cracked tooth is weaker and more brittle than an untreated tooth. Moreover, a crown will be placed over them to protect cracked teeth and restore functionality.

  • Dental crowns

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap placed over an existing tooth, improving its appearance and preserving its structure from further damage or fragmentation. Dental crowns are among the most effective restorative solutions for cracked teeth. They help prevent future problems caused by a cracked tooth by removing the damaged tissue and using the crown to provide strength and structural integrity. Crowns are made from durable materials, such as porcelain or metal, and help to reinforce the tooth structure.

If a crack causes a split or you lose a significant area of your tooth, a dental crown can support and protect the remaining structure, enabling you to eat and speak as normal.

If you’re asking yourself, “Can a cracked tooth be fixed?” we can take care of that the same day. At No Gaps Dental, we offer same-day dental crowns. We use advanced dental technology called Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics (CEREC), allowing us to design, fabricate and fit your custom dental crowns in a single visit. Rather than taking physical moulds of your teeth and gums, we use computer-aided design and manufacturing technology and an intraoral camera to take digital scans of your mouth. Using these high-quality 3D images, your dentist mills precision dental crowns on-site.

Our dental crowns are made from a ceramic zirconia. Ceramic contains similar translucent properties to real teeth, providing a natural aesthetic. Dental crowns are strong and durable, giving long-lasting results for up to 15 years.

  • Dental bonding

While a dental crown is one of the best ways to restore a cracked tooth, it isn’t always necessary. Minor cracks may only require a filling or dental bonding. Dental bonding is a treatment that uses tooth-coloured resin to repair cracked teeth.

The bonding process starts by etching the tooth’s enamel with this chemically abrasive liquid. This prepares the tooth for the composite resin bond.

Your dentist then applies a dental adhesive or bonding agent before filling the crack with composite material. Your dentist then uses a curing light to harden each layer of resin. Once the crack is filled, the dentist reshapes and polishes the restored tooth to ensure it matches your existing teeth.

Bonding can also close gaps between teeth or change a tooth’s shape. It can protect exposed roots and make minor corrections to the alignment of teeth. Bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive way to improve the appearance of teeth.

Bonding is less durable than other options, such as veneers or crowns. As a result, bonding may need replacement every few years.

  • Dental Veneers

Unsure if a cracked front tooth can be fixed? Dental veneers are thin porcelain or ceramic shells that are custom-made to cover the front surface of your teeth. They are used to improve the appearance of teeth that may be discoloured, chipped, misshapen or slightly misaligned. Veneers can also close spaces between teeth or disguise a cracked tooth.

The advantage of veneers over crowns is that much less of the tooth structure is removed, and with proper care, veneers can last between 10 to 15 years. However, this treatment is only suitable for minor cracks; it is a cosmetic treatment only and cannot repair any underlying damage or strengthen the tooth.

  • Extraction

If you’re unsure if a cracked tooth can be repaired, in many cases, the best way to deal with a cracked tooth is to have it extracted. This may seem drastic, but it can help prevent further problems. By removing the cracked tooth, you can avoid the risk of it causing damage to other teeth and the underlying jawbone.

Your dentist may recommend a dental implant to replace your missing tooth after tooth extraction. Dental implants use a small metal rod surgically inserted into your jawbone and an artificial restoration to replace your tooth. It is permanent, stable and looks and acts like a natural tooth.

What to Do After Dental Crown Placement

If your dentist recommends a dental crown for your cracked tooth repair, a recovery period of a few days usually follows this procedure. Your mouth and gums need time to heal from the inflammation and soreness. You can discuss this during your initial dental examination on repairing your cracked teeth.

Your dentist will give you more instructions and guidance for caring for your new dental crowns after your procedure. These instructions may include:

  • Have patience while recovering from a dental crown procedure

The placement of a dental crown can result in some sensitivity. You will likely experience heat or cold food and drink sensitivity during the first few days or weeks after the procedure.

The discomfort should diminish as your teeth and jawbone adapt to the new dental crowns. Follow your dentist’s advice about avoiding certain foods and chewing on the opposite side of the mouth from the dental crown to aid recovery.

  • Avoid aggravating foods or drinks

Just as with your natural teeth, dental crowns can get damaged. It is best to avoid sticky sweets and food, which can pull on the crown and loosen it. Sticky bits of food can also lodge between your dental crown and gum, causing irritation. A dental crown may chip or dislodge if you consume hard or crunchy foods like carrots, nuts or popcorn.

  • Break habits that damage your teeth

Biting your nails or grinding your teeth when stressed can cause damage to your crowns and your natural teeth. If you’ve already tried to stop these habits but were unsuccessful, you must make another attempt. Not only will this preserve your new dental crowns, but it will also improve your overall oral health.

  • Maintain good oral hygiene habits

Although you need to take care of your dental crowns, thoroughly cleaning your natural teeth is still important. To protect your teeth and dental crowns from gum disease and tooth decay, continue practising diligent oral hygiene habits. Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, and floss at least once daily. Floss gently around your dental crown.

  • Schedule regular dental checkups

Maintaining the condition of your dental crowns requires regular dental examinations. Your dentist examines X-rays of the teeth under the dental crowns to ensure they are in good condition. They also check to see if the dental crowns still fit snugly.

Regular dental checkups can prolong the lifespan of crowns. Tell your dentist about any discomfort you experience with dental crowns that might require attention.

Contact No Gaps Dental for Affordable Treatment for a Cracked Tooth

If you’re still wondering how to fix a cracked tooth, it’s time to schedule a consultation with one of the experienced dentists at No Gaps Dental, who will help you determine the best-cracked tooth repair treatment to suit your needs. Whether you need a filling or a dental crown, we can provide quality care and treatment.

Our CEREC technology allows us to design and fit dental crowns in a single visit, providing you with a fast solution to a cracked tooth.

For more information on our restorative treatments, contact No Gaps Dental at (02) 8806 0227. Book an appointment at one of our 15 Sydney-based practices today.

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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