We often take for granted the seemingly permanent nature of our teeth. Unfortunately, this mindset can be quickly "eroded" in the event that damage suddenly occurs. While this can be caused by long-term decay, physical trauma may also lead to issues such as chips and cracks.

So, what if you have recently developed a cracked tooth? Can broken teeth be fixed and if so, what are the options? The main intention of this article is to place your mind at ease by discussing potential solutions -- as well as the role that cosmetic dentistry plays.

Why Might a Tooth Suddenly Crack?

There are many reasons why one or more teeth can suffer from mechanical damage. Some are as commonplace as biting down on a very hard candy and cy chipping a tooth.

Physical trauma also plays a crucial role. A sudden fall or being involved in contact sports are also some of the leading causes of damage to your teeth and/or gums.

A final variable involves a tooth that is already physically weakened. This may occur as the result of a root canal, advanced gum disease or a particularly large cavity -- even if the cavity has already been treated.

Either way, even the smallest of imperfections should be diagnosed and treated right away by a dentist.

How to Spot the Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth

There are times when the damage is altogether obvious such as a large visible crack or when a portion of the tooth is missing. However, other symptoms are more subtle in nature. Here are a handful of warning signs that an expert diagnosis is in order:

  • Intermittent pain or discomfort when placing pressure upon the tooth.
  • Noticeable redness or swelling around the suspected tooth.
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods or drinks (such as soup or ice cream).

Note that there are also times when none of these symptoms are present. This is why minor damage may remain unresolved, leading to more serious problems. If you feel that your tooth has suffered from even a tiny chip or crack, do not delay confirming an appointment with a dentist.

A Quick Look at the Different Types of Fractures

Teeth are relatively complex structures and therefore, fractures can occur in a variety of ways. We'll quickly examine five common types of damage before moving on to discuss how a cracked tooth can be treated.

A Root Fracture

This type of damage begins at the root of the tooth and extends vertically to the biting surface. While the entire tooth may be compromised, you still might not feel any pain unless an infection develops.

Hairline Fractures

Sometimes known as "craze lines", these are minute cracks that do not generally extend below the surface of the enamel.

Cracks Around Fillings

Dentists will refer to this condition as a "fractured cusp". There are times when weaker portions of a tooth (such as near an existing filling) may crack off. In the majority of cases, fractured cusps are painless -- but do require a dentist’s attention.

A Tooth That Has Completely Split

In the event that your tooth has been severely damaged, the crack might actually begin at the biting surface and propagate above the gum line. In other words, the tooth is split in two and may need to be extracted. Cosmetic solutions such as partial dentures or implants can then be used to restore the appearance of your smile.

A Simple Cracked Tooth

This final situation involves a crack in a tooth that may or may not extend into the root. This is quite a common scenario and once again, it will require a professional diagnosis.

Can Broken Teeth be Fixed?

Believe it or not, the first examples of cosmetic dentistry can be traced as far back as the Etruscans. At the time, substances such as ivory and gold were used to address damaged teeth. You will be happy to learn that science has advanced in leaps and bounds over the centuries. Let's examine some of the current solutions.

First, a dentist will need to perform specific diagnostic procedures such as:

  • A visual examination.
  • A bite test to determine the level of discomfort you are experiencing.
  • A CT scan or an x-ray.

Your dentist will then choose the most effective treatment option based on the type of damage. For example, a simple surface contouring may be all that is required if only a small portion of the tooth is missing. Bonding or veneers can also be used to address small cracks or fractures.

If your tooth has been split above or below the gum line, a root canal or a complete extraction could be the best option. Note that this will depend on the damage as well as if other issues are present (such as an infection). This is also when an implant or dentures may be warranted.

Having said this, there can also be times when a minor issue might not require any type of intervention. This might occur if your appearance is not altered on in the event that a hairline crack is not at risk of becoming larger.

Adopting a Proactive Mindset

While home remedies such as drinking salt water and using an ice pack might alleviate some of the underlying systems, an expert examination is always warranted. Can cracks in teeth be fixed?

In the majority of cases, you will be provided with cutting-edge options that were not available only a few decades ago. This is the best way to ensure a healthy, attractive and functional smile in no time at all.


1. https://www.bostonmagazine.com/sponsor-content/did-you-know-that-by-age-50-americans-have-lost-an-average-of-12-teeth/
2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21628-fractured-tooth-cracked-tooth