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tooth fracture symptoms sydney

Tooth Fracture Symptoms, Causes, and Solutions

What are the symptoms of tooth fracture? A tooth fracture can be very uncomfortable and unsightly. It can also gravely affect your oral health if left untreated. Symptoms may range from severe pain to no pain at all.

If you have a chipped, cracked, broken, or fractured tooth, it is best to seek out the help of an emergency dentist. Otherwise, you may risk losing your tooth. Read along to discover the symptoms of tooth fracture you should watch out for and its causes and treatments.


What is a tooth fracture?

Many patients use chipped, broken, or fractured tooth interchangeably. But there is a difference.


Chipped tooth

This presents very minimal damage to the tooth and is usually associated with the front teeth.


Broken tooth

A broken tooth shows more considerable damage and needs comprehensive assessment and extensive care to evaluate the tooth’s health and determine the best treatment.


fractured teeth solutions sydneyFractured tooth

Also called cracked tooth, a fractured tooth does not have any broken parts to it. It is still whole, only that a crack extends from one side of the tooth, going across the other side.

The crack may occur in the tip or edges of the tooth, such as with craze lines or fractured cusps. Or it can also extend near or below the gum line, such as with a split tooth or vertical root fracture.

These terms are beneficial during a dental emergency so your dentist can get a better picture of the extent of the damage.


Causes of Tooth Fracture

There are several reasons why you can experience a fractured tooth. But it is primarily due to heavy forces directed against the tooth that it cannot withstand. Here are the common causes of cracked teeth that our emergency dentist usually sees:

  • Trauma during a fall, fistfight, or an accident
  • Sports-related injury
  • Pressure from teeth grinding or clenching
  • Large tooth fillings that have weakened
  • Biting into hard or chewy food
  • Abrupt temperature changes in the mouth such as eating hot foods followed by an ice cold drink
  • Compromised tooth due to decay

Most tooth fractures and cracks occur in patients over 50 as their teeth have likely weakened with age.


Symptoms of Tooth Fracture

So how can you tell if you have a fractured tooth? Usually, patients do not feel anything until there is significant damage, as the symptoms they can experience depend on the severity of the tooth fracture. From minor to severe, some common symptoms of tooth fracture include:

  • Pain that comes and goes, especially during biting or chewing
  • A dull toothache
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks
  • A tooth feels loose
  • Swelling of the gums around the affected tooth
  • Infection causing fever – this is mainly for a longstanding and extensive tooth fracture



How to Diagnose a Fractured Tooth?

If you have symptoms of a tooth fracture, head to the nearest dental emergency clinic for proper diagnosis and treatment. To help diagnose a fractured or cracked tooth, your dentist will do the following:

  • Consider your dental history if you frequently grind or clench your teeth
  • Make a visual examination to check the extent of the injury.
  • Use a dental explorer to feel for any ‘catches’ that determine the presence of a crack.
  • X-ray your tooth to identify the health of the affected tooth.
  • Use the transillumination method for better visualisation.
  • Have you bite down. This is a great way to diagnose as a fractured tooth may be painful upon release of the bite.


Treatments for a Fractured Tooth

Generally, the more sizeable the fracture, the more extensive you can expect the treatment. So, as soon as you experience any of the symptoms of tooth fracture, visit the nearest emergency dental clinic to prevent complications.


Cosmetic contouring

Ideal for minor tooth fractures, this treatment involves rounding off all sharp edges and polishing them smoothly to prevent injury to the tongue and other soft tissues. 


Tooth bonding

Best for the front teeth, tooth bonding uses composite resin to remedy the fractured area, fill in the fracture, and reshape the tooth.


Dental veneers

If there is a fracture on your front teeth, an emergency dentist may recommend cosmetic treatment with porcelain veneers. These are more durable than composite and help prevent further damage to the affected tooth.


Cosmetic fillings

Using tooth-coloured composite resin, a dentist can repair a fractured tooth enabling it to continue functioning and looking its best.


Dental crown

For a tooth with more large-scale damage, a more robust restoration is needed to protect and preserve it. For that, a dental crown is the ideal treatment of choice. This ‘tooth cap’ is placed over a fractured tooth to rebuild its structure, restore its health, and renew its appearance.

causes dental fracture sydney


Root canal treatment

Root canal therapy is required if the fractured tooth has caused infection or if the tooth pulp is affected. All infected root canals are cleaned and medicated to remove bacteria. Then, depending on the amount of tooth structure lost, a final restoration with an inlay, onlay, or dental crown will be performed to restore the tooth to optimal function and natural beauty.



With the many treatment options available for a fractured tooth, an emergency dentist will do their best to preserve the tooth. But if all else fails and with severe tooth fractures, it may be better to resort to tooth extraction to prevent the spread of infection.


Do You Have a Fractured Tooth?

A fractured tooth should never be taken lightly. Whether it is small and inconspicuous or large and painful, contact your nearest emergency dental clinic for help.

At No Gaps Dental, we have several treatment alternatives to help save your tooth. Contact us today at (02) 8007 6727 to schedule a visit to one of our multi-location clinics.




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






Healthline – What are the Lines on the Front of My Teeth?

PubMed – Vertical root fractures and their management,for%20extraction%20of%20an%20endodontically

PubMed – Review of Cracked Tooth Syndrome: Etiology, Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention

PubMed – Correlation between symptoms and external cracked tooth characteristics: findings from the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network

AAE – Transillumination: The “Light Detector”





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