Dental Health: Understanding Chipped, Cracked, and Fractured Teeth

April 30, 2024

At the office of Crown Dental Group, we often see patients dealing with chipped, cracked, or fractured teeth. These dental issues can be caused by a variety of factors such as biting into hard foods, accidents, or even grinding your teeth while you sleep. While our dental enamel is strong and durable, it's not indestructible. It's important to know what to do if you find yourself in this situation, so let's dive into the details!

The Strong Yet Vulnerable Enamel

Did you know that dental enamel is actually the hardest substance in your body? It's even harder than bone. However, despite its strength, it can still get damaged by erosion, decay, or trauma. Unlike bone, dental enamel isn't a living tissue and cannot repair itself.

Types of Tooth Damage

We see several types of tooth damage at our office. Depending on the extent of the damage, we may need to use different treatment methods. Here are some common types:

  • Craze Lines. These tiny cracks are quite common in adults and usually don't require any treatment.
  • Fractured Cusp. If a piece of the chewing surface breaks off, it can cause discomfort. Depending on the size of the fracture, we may need to use a crown or perform a root canal procedure.
  • Cracked Tooth. A crack that extends from the chewing surface down towards the root is more serious and may require a crown or even an extraction if the damage is severe enough.
  • Split Tooth. If your tooth splits into two separate segments, we will need to assess whether any part of the tooth can be saved. This will depend on the position and extent of the crack.
  • Vertical Root Fracture. A fracture that starts in the root and extends up towards the chewing surface is usually not salvageable, and we would likely need to remove the tooth.

Treatment Options for Damaged Teeth

The type of treatment we recommend will depend on the extent of the damage. For minor chips or cracks, dental bonding may be all that's needed. If a larger portion of the tooth is damaged, we may need to use a filling or a crown. In cases where the nerve has been exposed, a root canal procedure may be necessary. If the fracture involves the root structure, it may make the tooth nonrestorable and require extraction.

Preventing Tooth Damage

While we can't always prevent accidents from happening, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of chipping or cracking a tooth. Avoid biting into hard foods like ice or hard candies, and wear a mouthguard if you play contact sports. Also, be mindful of grinding your teeth during the day or at night.

What to Do If You Damage a Tooth

If you do chip, crack, or fracture a tooth, don't panic! Contact our office right away for timely evaluation and care. We'll assess the damage and recommend the best course of action to get your smile back on track.

Remember, at the office of Crown Dental Group, we're here to help you with all your dental needs. Whether it's a chipped tooth or a routine cleaning, our dedicated staff is ready to provide you with the highest level of care in a friendly and comfortable environment.