Many dentists across the country are reporting that cracked teeth are becoming more common. Because of increased stress levels, more individuals may be grinding their teeth, which contributes to cracks and other wear and tear. If you are noticing this or any other issues with your oral health, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a dentist. These problems typically become worse over time and seeing your dentist sooner can help prevent the need for more extensive work.
Different Types of Cracked Teeth
Cracks can range from very small lines on the surface of your teeth to deep fractures that impact the entire tooth structure. The causes and solutions vary depending on the severity of the chips or cracks.
If you look closely at the front surface of your teeth, you may notice tiny cracks in the enamel. These are very common and form over time due to natural pressure on your teeth from chewing. They can occur more quickly if you grind your teeth or have any misalignment. These do not cause any pain and unless you are specifically looking for them, you probably won’t even notice them.
Treatment is not usually necessary for craze lines except for cosmetic reasons. If you are self-conscious about surface-level cracks, porcelain veneers are a great way to cover these imperfections.
Cracked Teeth Above the Gum Line
Cracks that are deeper in the tooth are not only unsightly, they can cause tooth sensitivity and pain. If you have a crack that extends beyond the enamel and into the dentin (the next layer of your tooth), you will likely begin to notice it. Over time, it is likely that the crack will extend below the gum line and become even more serious. These cracks can be caused by trauma to the tooth, long-term grinding, or continued pressure from misalignment. If you see any cracks in your teeth, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Cracks above the gum line may be treated with dental bonding. During this process, your dentist will use a composite resin material, which is the same type for tooth-colored fillings. We will make sure that it matches your tooth and looks natural while also sealing the crack and stopping further damage.
Deep Cracks and Split Teeth
A crack that starts above the gum line can extend downward if left untreated. It’s also possible for an impact or serious trauma to the tooth to immediately cause a deep crack. In severe cases, this can cause the tooth to split in half. If the crack is very painful, bleeding heavily, or if any portion of the tooth has fallen out, this is a dental emergency. You should save any portion of the tooth that fell out and place it in a glass of milk if possible.
The available treatments for a severely cracked tooth depend on how much of the tooth structure has been impacted. If the crack extends into the root, extraction may be necessary. An implant and crown or a bridge can be used to restore your smile after removing the damaged tooth. It might also be possible to save some of the tooth and cover it with a crown. This is highly dependent on the circumstances of the crack and your dentist will likely need to take X-rays and fully examine the damage to determine what your options are.
Repairing Cracked Teeth
At Smith Dentalworks, we offer cosmetic dentistry services for minor cracks and can also conduct more extensive repairs for seriously cracked teeth. If you are a current patient with us, emergency dental appointments are available in some cases.