Chipped Or Broken Teeth

cracked teeth raleigh north carolina

How Do You Chip or Crack Your Teeth?

Enamel covers your teeth and is the hardest substance in your body, but even it has its limits. Many things can cause chipped and cracked teeth. Chewing or biting down on hard candy, ice, or just extreme biting pressure, receiving a blow to your chin or lower jaw, or grinding your teeth in your sleep can all damage your teeth. 

Poor oral health and cavities can also weaken your teeth and make them more susceptible to being chipped or cracked. Even sudden changes in your mouth temperature can cause tooth fractures (click here). 

There may not be tooth pain when you chip a tooth unless the crack is large enough to expose your tooth’s inner pulp. Sometimes a crack might only affect the tooth enamel, and is painless until you bite down hard or a change in your mouth temperature. 

Most people won’t see a crack with the naked eye, which is another reason why it’s so important to schedule regular appointments with your general dentist. They will find problems before they become painful.

Dr. HH Hancock III, your endodontist in Raleigh, NC., specializes in saving cracked teeth and will cater to the type and extent of the crack. The sooner your tooth is treated, the better the outcome. 


How will my cracked tooth be treated?

There are many different types of cracked teeth. The treatment for your tooth depends on the type, location, and extent of the crack (read here for more info). Here are a few examples below.

  • Crazy Lines – are tiny cracks in the outer layer of your enamel only. They’re very common in adults. They are incredibly shallow, and they don’t cause pain. While not cosmetically pleasing, they’re not dangerous. Craze lines do not require treatment.
  • A fractured cusp –  a fracture on the chewing surface of your tooth. A cusp can weaken and break off on its own, or it may need to be removed by Dr. Hancock. Removing the cusp usually relieves the pain and rarely damages the pulp of your tooth, so there is generally no need for a root canal. To repair the tooth, Dr. Hancock may recommend a dental crown.
  • Cracked Teeth – cracks extending from the chewing surface, past the gum line into the root of your tooth. Depending on the crack position, the pulp can be damaged, and in many cases, Dr. Hancock would recommend root canal treatment.
  • A split tooth – a cracked tooth-progresses until eventually, the tooth splits into two separate parts. Dr. Hancock will determine whether he can save part of the tooth with a crown or another restorative procedure depending on the gravity.
  • Vertical Root Fractures – cracks that begin in the root of a tooth. The fracture may not be visible and only identified by paying particular attention to symptoms. Vertical root fractures are the most challenging fractures to locate and are often fixed through endodontic treatment. In most cases, the tooth will be removed.


What can I do to prevent my teeth from cracking?

Cracked teeth are not entirely preventable, but there are some steps to make your teeth less susceptible.

  • Do not chew on hard objects such as ice, hard candy, unpopped popcorn kernels, pens, etc.
  • Don’t clench or grind your teeth, or talk to your dentist about getting a mouth guard to protect your teeth.
  • Wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports to avoid injuries.


What if I chipped my tooth?

Chipped and cracked teeth account for most dental injuries and are repaired either by reattaching the broken piece of tooth or by bonding a tooth-colored filling or crown in place. It isn’t exactly a dental emergency if there is no pain, but you should see Dr. HH Hancock as soon as possible after the injury to treat your chipped tooth and keep it from worsening.


Will my crack tooth completely heal after treatment?

Unlike broken bones, a cracked tooth will never heal completely. After treatment, a crack may get worse in really difficult cases. If treated correctly, most cracked teeth continue to function as they should, for many years of biting and chewing. 

If you have a cracked tooth and would like a closer examination, give us a call to schedule a consultation. Call us at +1(919)781-9905 or send us an email. Dr. Hancock, your endodontic specialist, will be able to tell you more about your particular problem and recommend a treatment uniquely for you.