Cracked tooth repair: 4 dental options
A chunk of your tooth just broke off. Should you:
a. Superglue it back on?
b. Leave it for now (it’s not that sore)?
c. Come in and see us right away?
Not that we need to spell it out to you, but the answer is c !
“A cracked tooth often has functional implications,” says Dr Renee Ashby. “In the worst case scenario, you could end up having that tooth pulled out.”
But don’t worry – get to the dentist for now and we’ll do all we can to repair your tooth.
Can you crack a tooth and not know it?
Yes – you won’t always be aware you have a cracked tooth, particularly if it’s a minor crack or if the crack is in a tooth that has had root canal treatment.
What are signs I could have a cracked tooth?
- Something in your mouth feels like it’s changed
- Chewing has become a problem – are you avoiding eating on one side?
- You clench your teeth a lot and it aches when you do
- Your tooth is sensitive to hot and cold
- It hurts if you bite down on something hard
- A chunk has just broken off!
Are some teeth more likely to crack than others?
Yes – a tooth that has had a large filling, especially a molar. Back teeth often crack and break, as they take more load when you chew.
Teeth that have had large fillings are often weaker due to the lack of enamel. Some large, old fillings can make up most of the tooth!
The remaining enamel is subject to load and eventually little cracks can form at the base of the tooth structure.
One day, you might bite down and that’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back – your tooth cracks. The crack might be tender before the piece breaks off, but sometimes there isn’t much warning.
If my tooth has cracked down to the root, wouldn’t I be in more pain than I am?
Often, if the crack penetrates through to the root or nerve of the tooth, it’s very painful.
However, some deeper cracks aren’t painful, especially in root canal-treated teeth.
What are the treatment options?
1. Tooth-coloured filling
- If the crack is minor, we’ll remove the fractured section and build it up with a filling material called composite resin, which we call a tooth-coloured filling.
- We’ll often discuss this option first, as it’s less intrusive and more affordable.
- However, it may not be as strong for load-bearing areas and, in some cases, the tooth could still crack further underneath.
2. Crown, onlay or veneer
- If a large piece of tooth came off or if the tooth is compromised, we turn to an indirect option.
- Porcelain and gold are stronger materials than composite resin, and we can use these to make a crown, onlay or veneer to protect the remaining tooth. The option chosen depends on the degree of breakage and the amount of tooth left.
- While this option is costlier, it’s often the best way to restore strength and stability to a weakened tooth and stop it from cracking any further.
3. Root canal therapy
- When a tooth can be saved, there may be a need for root canal therapy if the nerve is damaged.
4. Tooth extraction
- Unfortunately, sometimes the tooth is too damaged and may be fractured all the way through, and having the tooth extracted may be the only choice.
- In every case, we’ll discuss all the options, pros and cons, costs and longevity of treatment. In the case of tooth extraction, we’ll also talk about long-term options for replacing a missing tooth.
What if you can’t save the tooth?
Sometimes the extent of the crack is such that there’s no way to save the tooth.
If the resulting gap isn’t of consequence, it can be left as is, too.
How much will a cracked tooth repair cost?
The answer is… it depends.
The size of the crack or break, which tooth is affected, and your chosen treatment will need to be considered.
At your consultation, we’ll discuss all the options, how much they’ll cost and how many appointments they’ll take. You’ll always get a written quotation at the time of your appointment.
I think I have a cracked tooth. What should I do?
Come in to our practice and discuss your concerns with us. Once we’ve investigated the problem, we can book an appointment to carry out your chosen treatment.
Or shoot through your details to us online and we’ll get back to you with a time that suits.