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Do Cracked Teeth Heal? Discover If It Is A Dental Emergency

Cracked teeth are a common occurrence caused by various factors, as well as trauma. If you have a cracked tooth, it is essential to schedule a dental appointment or see an emergency dentist if you are suffering from severe pain or the crack in your tooth is significant, as this is a dental emergency. If left untreated, a cracked tooth can lead to infection, pain, and even tooth loss. But do cracked teeth heal? Read on to find out. 

 

Causes of Cracked Teeth

When you think of a cracked tooth, you may immediately think of it as a dental emergency, for example, if you receive an injury to the mouth from an accident. However, other causes of cracked teeth are not due to an injury. Cracks can occur from biting down on hard objects, chewing ice, grinding your teeth (bruxism), or even teeth whitening treatments.

Cracked teeth are not typically a dental emergency—many cracks are hairline or unnoticeable. However, if the damage results from trauma, it is best to see an emergency dentist for an assessment and treatment. 

 

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. 

 

Hairline Cracks/Craze Lines

A common feature of cracked teeth is hairline cracks and craze lines. These tiny cracks or lines are usually caused by the wear and tear of everyday life and are not a sign of any serious dental problems – so they are nothing to be unduly concerned about. While they may be unsightly, they are usually not painful, do not affect the structure of the teeth and, therefore, do not require any treatment. 

 

treatment dental cracked teeth sydneyBroken or Fractured Cusp

A cusp is a raised point on the chewing surface of a tooth. They are unique to each tooth and help with chewing. A canine has a single cusp, while pre-molars have two and the large molars (back teeth) possess 4 or 5 cusps. 

A cracked tooth may feature a broken or fractured cusp, which typically may be found around a dental filling. They are not an immediate threat to your dental health, but it is advisable to see a dentist to have the tooth treated. 

 

Gumline Cracks

A cracked tooth where the damage reaches the gum line may be treatable. But, if the crack extends below the gum line, there is a chance that the tooth may need extracting. 

 

Split tooth

This is one of the most serious cases of a cracked tooth. The crack may begin at the tip of the tooth and extend down the tooth into the gum line. Typically, once a crack has extended below the gumline, it’s unlikely the tooth can be saved, and extraction will be the only option. 

 

Vertical root fracture

This type of cracked tooth is the opposite of a split tooth because the crack starts below the gum line and extends upwards toward the top of the tooth. These are the most severe type of cracks to your teeth because you may not notice any symptoms, and the tooth can soon become infected. 

 

 

Do cracked teeth heal?

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. 

 

Treatments for cracked teeth

The treatment for your cracked tooth will depend on the type of crack and damage your tooth has sustained. If it is severely injured by sudden trauma, or you are in pain or bleeding heavily, you should treat it as a dental emergency. An emergency dentist’s priority will be to treat the problem and make you comfortable, but you will likely have to return for further treatment to address the issue. 

 

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 material, but metal fillings are longer-lasting and are still a popular option. 

 

Bonding

A tooth-coloured resin is bonded to the tooth to look like your natural tooth enamel and hide a cracked tooth. 

 

tooth crack dental emergency sydneyInlays/Onlays

These are for cracked teeth where a filling is not suitable—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. 

 

Dental Crowns

Crowns support and add strength to a tooth and can successfully treat cracked teeth. 

 

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are purely a cosmetic treatment. If you have hairline cracks in your tooth enamel that are unsightly, a veneer can provide a natural-looking crack-free appearance. 

 

Do Cracked Teeth Heal? The Bottom Line

Cracked teeth do not heal, but your dentist can treat most types of cracks to prevent them from becoming a dental emergency and requiring treatment from an emergency dentistBook an appointment at No Gaps Dental to find out the options for your personal circumstances.

Call us on (02) 8007 6727 today.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

References

Sleep Foundation: Bruxism: Teeth grinding at night
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bruxism

Mayo Clinic: Cavities/tooth decay
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cavities/symptoms-causes/syc-20352892

Colgate: Craze lines on your teeth making you crazy? Here’s what you need to know.
https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/mouth-and-teeth-anatomy/craze-lines-making-you-crazy–here-s-what-you-need-to-know#

 

 

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