How Does An Endodontist Repair A Cracked Tooth?
A cracked tooth is a relatively common occurrence. Cracks can develop in teeth from a variety of causes, but the good news is that cracked teeth can often be saved. In many cases it is possible to permanently repair a cracked tooth so that it lasts for the rest of your life.
If you have a cracked tooth, you may be wondering if it can be saved and how an endodontist will repair it. Here’s what you can expect when it comes to treatment for a cracked tooth.
Types of Cracks in Teeth and Treatment
There are different types of cracks that can form in teeth, and the type may determine whether or not the tooth can be saved.
- Fractured cusp. When a piece or corner of a tooth breaks off, it is called a fractured cusp. If the piece is relatively small and only consists of the top layer of enamel, it may only require composite bonding. A larger fracture may require a crown restoration, a protective tooth-shaped cap placed over the existing tooth. Only if the fracture is large enough to expose the dentin will a root canal be needed.
- Vertical crack above the gumline. When a vertical crack forms in a tooth that extends toward the gumline but does not reach the gum tissue, it is most likely treatable. The tooth will need a root canal to treat or prevent infection of the dental pulp, the soft tissue inside the tooth. Then a crown will need to be placed over the tooth to repair the crack.
- Vertical crack under the gumline. If the crack begins in the root of the tooth or if it extends beneath the gumline into the root portion of the tooth, it is most likely untreatable. The tooth will need to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant or bridge.
What is a Root Canal?
A fractured or cracked tooth will often need a root canal to protect the health of the tooth from the inside out. Inside each tooth is a chamber called the root canal that contains dental pulp, soft tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves. When a crack in a tooth goes deep enough, it can reach the root canal and expose the dental pulp to bacteria, resulting in an infection.
A root canal can treat or prevent a tooth infection by removing the dental pulp from the tooth and filling the root canal with a biocompatible material. This fortifies the tooth and removes the portion that is susceptible to infection.
What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over a damaged tooth. When a crack forms in a tooth, a crown is the best restoration option because it prevents the crack from worsening. A crack can sometimes be patched with composite material, but there is a chance that the crack will deepen and lengthen, resulting in a split tooth that is untreatable.
To prepare for a crown, the existing tooth enamel is reduced, which removes the portion that is cracked. The crown is placed over the remaining tooth enamel, allowing the natural root of the tooth to stay in place for support.
How Will I Know If I Have a Cracked Tooth?
If the crack is not visible to the naked eye, it can be harder to tell if your tooth is cracked. An endodontist has specialized training and tools to determine if a crack exists that needs to be treated. A patient can look for the following symptoms of a cracked tooth:
- Sensitivity to heat and cold
- Pain when chewing
- Lingering pain in a tooth
- Severe toothache.
What To Do If You Think You Have a Cracked Tooth
If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact Heart of Texas Endodontics. As an endodontic practice, we specialize in the health of teeth from the inside out. Providing treatment for cracked teeth is one of our primary services. We make it our goal to save your teeth whenever possible, providing prompt treatment to prevent cracks from worsening and becoming untreatable.
Call 254-778-4400 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.