Cracked Teeth | Peoria IL

Cracked teeth demonstrate many types of symptoms including pain when chewing, temperature sensitivities (usually to cold first), or even pain upon release of biting pressure. The painful sensation generally is very brief (sometimes like a quick burst) and may not occur every time you chew. The episodic nature of the discomfort may cause its diagnosis to be challenging.

Chewing can cause movement of the cracked pieces of your tooth, and the pulp (nerve) within the tooth becomes irritated. When the biting pressure is released, the crack can close quickly, resulting in sharp pain. Without proper treatment, the pulp tissue will become irreparably damaged and begin hurting without provocation. This spontaneous pain indicates root canal therapy is necessary.  It is possible that cracks can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gum surrounding the problematic tooth. Again, root canal therapy is necessary to save the tooth.

It is VERY important to minimize using this tooth for chewing until it is treated with either a crown (if the crack is superficial) or a root canal and crown (if the crack is deep). Every time you bite on the tooth, it risks the fracture spreading deeper, possibly rendering the tooth unsaveable. Get into your dentist or endodontist soon.

Types of Cracks

illustration of crazelines, Midwest Endodontic Specialists, LTD | Peoria IL

Craze lines

These are tiny cracks that only affect the outer enamel of the tooth. These cracks are more common in adults. These types of cracks are superficial and are usually of no concern.

illusration of fractured cusp, Midwest Endodontic Specialists, LTD | Peoria IL

Fractured Cusp

When a cusp becomes weakened, a fracture may result. The cusp may break off or be removed by a dentist. A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp, so root canal is not necessary. Your dentist will usually restore the tooth with a full crown.

illustration of treatable crack, Midwest Endodontic Specialists, LTD | Peoria IL

Treatable Cracked Tooth

This type of crack extends from the chewing surface of the tooth and vertically migrates towards the root. In some cases, the crack may extend below the gum line. It is possible for the crack to extend further into the root. Damage to the pulp is commonplace. In this case, root canal treatment is usually necessary. A cracked tooth that is not treated will worsen, resulting in the loss of the tooth. Therefore, early detection is essential.

illustration of split tooth, Midwest Endodontic Specialists, LTD | Peoria IL

Split Tooth

A split tooth is usually the result of an untreated cracked tooth. It can be identified by a crack with distinct segments. This type of tooth can never be saved intact. Yet, the position and extent of the problem will dictate whether any portion of the tooth can be saved. Sometimes, endodontic retreatment by the doctors and restoration by your dentist can be used to save a portion of the tooth.

illustration of Vertical Root Fracture, Midwest Endodontic Specialists, LTD | Peoria IL

Vertical Root Fracture

A vertical root fracture begins at the root and extends towards the chewing surface of the tooth. Unfortunately, they show minimal symptoms and may go unnoticed. Treatment involves endodontic surgery if a portion of the tooth can be saved by removal of the fractured root. Otherwise, the tooth will have to be extracted.

Please call us at 309-690-0011 with any questions or to schedule an appointment.