A crack in a tooth is always something you should take seriously. It can very quickly and easily become a more serious condition that can lead to the extraction of that tooth. There are some cracks or fractions that are more serious than others, though.
In some cases, you may be able to wait until your next cleaning or other dental appointment to discuss the crack with us, especially if it's fairly small, but it most cases, you need to call us as soon as you notice the crack.
The Five Types of Dental Cracks
Dental cracks have been divided into five different categories:
Craze lines are cracks in the enamel of a tooth. These little cracks don't actually run down into the tooth's dentin layer, so they're not as serious as other types of fractures. All teeth have these little craze lines, but trauma to the teeth can cause them to become more pronounced than normal. Some people have their craze lines treated for aesthetic reasons.
A fractured cusp occurs when the crown of a tooth develops a crack in it. These cracks usually run down below the gum line and can cause pain in the tooth These cracks need to be dealt with quickly, so you can get back to a pain-free life.
A cracked tooth occurs when you have a crack that extends across the top of your tooth or down the side. These cracks can reach the root of the tooth, leading to major pain. Sometimes, these cracks are very easy to see. Other times, they may be more difficult to find. Sometimes, these cracked teeth don't cause any pain at all. That makes it almost impossible to know that you have a cracked tooth.
A split tooth occurs when a fracture runs all the way from the top of the crown to below the gum line. Split teeth usually began as a cracked tooth, but over time or due to additional trauma, the crack grew. Split teeth are more likely to be painful and, in most cases, they have to be removed.
Finally, a vertical root fracture occurs when a crack starts at the root of the tooth. It can run along the entire root or a portion of it. Usually, these vertical root fractures are only discovered when we do x-rays. They almost always result in a tooth extraction, too.
Have you noticed a crack in one of your teeth? If so, it's definitely a good idea to call us and get an appointment as soon as possible. If you wait for too long, it could lead to more severe issues.