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Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth — Why It’s Important To Be Aware?

Did you know that a cracked tooth doesn’t always hurt? In fact, many people don’t realize they have a cracked tooth until they need emergency dental care. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of a cracked tooth, so you can get treatment as soon as possible. 


Why a tooth cracks?

A tooth crack can occur for any reason, or sometimes for no reason at all! It is surprisingly common to have hairline cracks on a tooth’s surface which cause no trouble until the sudden onset of cracked tooth syndrome


cracked teeth types sydneyGeneral wear and tear

Every day, teeth are exposed to all sorts of textures, acids and other elements that can cause them to wear out or decrease the thickness of the tooth enamel.

Over many years, the tooth starts to wear out, making the thinner enamel susceptible to a fracture. This kind of tooth fracture usually happens after the age of 50. 


Biting hard foods

Biting on hard foods can exert immense pressure on just one point of the tooth structure, because of which the tooth may fracture or chip.

To prevent tooth fractures due to this reason, one should avoid the following food items among other similar hard foods that put too much pressure on teeth.

  • ice
  • candy
  • unpopped corn kernels
  • fruit pits
  • bones 


Dental injury

Playing contact sports such as boxing and rugby can result in a fractured tooth. A hard hit to the face can make one or more teeth crack.

Accidents like a vehicle crash, fall from a bicycle or a place of height, or even tripping can result in cracked teeth. 


Excessive teeth grinding

Some people are prone to grinding their teeth while asleep. Excessive teeth grinding can wear away enamel, making teeth susceptible to fractures.

If you grind your teeth, ask your dental practitioner for mouth guards, which can help protect teeth from wearing down. 


Large filling

Sometimes, a procedure meant to improve oral health can have the opposite effect. A dental filling is one such treatment because if it is too large, it can push against the walls of the tooth it fills, weakening it to a point it results in a tooth fracture. 


Why does a cracked tooth hurt?

A cracked tooth gives space for bacteria to enter the pulp tissue contained deep in the tooth. The bacteria can inflame the pulp, leading to a tooth abscess.

Further, if the crack in the enamel is deep or wide, it will allow food particles to get stuck in the tooth, which can further aggravate the damaged pulp.

Poor pulp health is a leading cause of dental pain.

Most cracked teeth present differently in different people, from hairline fractures to a fractured cusp. In extreme cases, a tooth fracture extends from the enamel all the way down to the root. 


Types of cracked tooth


treating tooth crack sydneyCraze lines

Craze lines are tiny cracks on the chewing surface of the enamel, running vertically down the tooth. They usually appear as a person ages.

Craze lines are mostly harmless, affecting only the outer enamel, and can happen on their own.

They are more of a cosmetic concern than an oral health one. 


Fractured Cusp

A Fractured Cusp is a crack extending from the chewing surface of the tooth to either one or more cusps. It affects not only the enamel but also deeper layers of the tooth structure and may require professional treatment in order to prevent further damage.


Cracked tooth

This is when a crack runs from the biting surface of the tooth down towards the root. Sometimes it goes below the gum line and into the root. A cracked tooth is not split into two parts, but the soft inner tissue of the tooth is usually damaged. 


Split tooth

A split tooth is a split in the crown of the tooth that completely separates it into two parts. The split can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal and can cause severe oral pain. In most cases, split teeth cannot be saved and require extraction.

Dental professionals suggest seeking urgent attention if you suspect any kind of split or crack in your teeth. 


Vertical root fracture

A vertical root fracture (VRF) is a type of crack that runs down the root of the tooth, below the gum line and into the root. VRFs are difficult to diagnose as they often have no visible symptoms until late stages and can only be detected through an X-ray or CT scan.

If not treated in time, VRFs can inflame gum tissue and lead to tooth loss. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, however, a Vertical Root Fracture can be saved with root canal therapy or surgery. 


Symptoms of a cracked tooth



Visibly split tooth

This may include visible chips or wear on the edges of the tooth. 


Inconsistent pain

Inconsistent pain, mainly when eating or drinking cold, hot, sweet and sour foods. Pain that radiates to the head, neck, or ear. 


Swollen gums

An untreated cracked tooth can allow bacteria into the gum surrounding the tooth, resulting in an infection that can lead to tender, swollen gums in the area surrounding the cracked tooth.


dental cracked diagnosis sydneySensitivity

Tenderness and sensitivity to extreme temperatures, especially cold, can cause discomfort. Sensitivity to sweet foods, with no signs of decay.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek professional dental care as soon as possible. With timely diagnosis and treatment, you can stop further damage from occurring and preserve your oral health. 


Diagnosis of a cracked tooth

In order to diagnose a cracked tooth, your dentist will likely use a combination of physical exam, visual inspection, and X-ray imaging. 


Physical exam

During the physical exam, your dentist will measure the depth of the crack and check for signs of infection, gum inflammation, or sensitivity. 


Visual inspection

Your dentist will inspect the mouth and teeth visually with a dental mirror or dental explorer, looking for signs of chips or discolouration in the affected tooth. 


X-Ray imaging

The X-ray helps in determining the location and extent of the crack. Depending on the severity, your dentist may also recommend a CT scan or an MRI. 


Dental dye

Your dentist may also use a dental dye to help detect cracks that aren’t visible to the naked eye. The dye will help highlight any fractures or defects in the enamel.

Once a crack is detected, your dentist can recommend the best course of treatment based on the extent and location of the fracture.

When diagnosing a cracked tooth, it is important to note that the structural integrity of the tooth can be compromised, and further damage can occur if not treated promptly. As such, it is important to seek professional dental care as soon as you notice symptoms of a cracked tooth.


How to manage a cracked tooth at home?

If you suspect that you may have a cracked tooth, it is important to seek professional dental care immediately. In the meantime, there are some steps you can take to manage the pain and discomfort

  1. Avoid chewing on the affected tooth – Chewing or biting down on a cracked tooth can cause further damage or break off pieces of enamel and worsen the pain teeth crack aware symptoms sydney
  2. Rinse with warm salt water – Warm salt water can help reduce inflammation and promote the healing of the gum tissue surrounding a cracked tooth. To make a rinse, mix 1 teaspoon of sea salt into an 8-ounce glass of warm water and swish for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.
  3. Keep the chipped tooth in milk – Put the chipped piece of tooth in a small cup of milk to help maintain its integrity. This will also make it easier for your dentist to reattach the piece if needed.
  4. Take over-the-counter pain medications – Especially anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen.


How to fix cracked teeth?

Treatment for a cracked tooth depends on the exact nature of the crack – its location, direction, type, and size. Some take longer than others. Cracked teeth treatment options include: 


Dental bonding

This is a procedure in which the cracked tooth is covered with a composite resin material that bonds to the enamel, restoring its strength and integrity. 



A dental crown covers the cracked tooth completely and helps protect it from further damage. Crowns are made of porcelain or other materials that blend in with your surrounding teeth. 


Root canal

If the cracked tooth is severely damaged, a root canal may be necessary to treat the underlying infection and save the tooth. 



In some cases, extraction of the cracked tooth may be necessary if it is beyond repair. Your dentist will discuss options for replacing a missing tooth. 


Cosmetic contouring

In some cases, a cracked tooth may not need to be repaired with dental work. Cosmetic contouring can reshape the cracked tooth, improving its appearance without the need for restorative treatment. 


Re-attach chipped tooth

If there is only a small piece of enamel that has cracked off, your dentist may be able to re-attach the chipped piece with dental cement. 


dental discomfort cracked sydneyVeneers

For cracked teeth that are severely discoloured or have deep fractures, porcelain veneers can be used to restore the tooth’s appearance and strength.  Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that cover the cracked tooth, giving it a natural-looking finish.

Regardless of which cracked teeth treatment you choose, it is important to follow up with your dentist regularly to ensure that the cracked tooth has healed properly and to monitor for any further damage or decay.


How to prevent cracked teeth?

Though you cannot totally prevent cracked teeth, there are certain methods to make your teeth more resistant to cracks.

  1. Wear mouthguards
  2. Don’t bite on hard things
  3. Don’t expose teeth to sudden changes in temperature
  4. Practise good oral hygiene


Why choose No Gaps Dental for a cracked tooth?

At No Gaps Dental, we understand the importance of maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile. We offer comprehensive treatment plans for cracked teeth and provide a range of dental services that can help you get back to smiling with confidence. Our experienced dentists use advanced technology to identify and diagnose cracks in teeth accurately, allowing us to customise your treatment plan. Don’t hesitate to contact us on (02) 8007 6727 today to book your appointment.




Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks.






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