Cracked Teeth

Aibel Endodontics – Saratoga, Schenectady, Albany NY

Cracked teeth elicit many types of symptoms, including discomfort when chewing, temperature sensitivity, or pain when releasing from biting pressure. It is also common for symptoms to “come and go,” making it difficult to diagnose the cause of the problem. Cracks are usually not visible on x-rays and must be detected by using a high-powered surgical microscope.

Dr. Aibel and his team also use 3-dimensional imaging to help diagnose cracked and fractured teeth.

Over time, cracks can lead to inflammation, infection, and irreversible damage to the tooth. For this reason, teeth that are suspected of being cracked or fractured should be evaluated immediately.

 

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Types of Cracks

An example of a tooth with a fractured cusp

Fractured Cusp

When a cusp becomes weakened, a fracture may result. The cusp may break off or be removed by a dentist. If the cusp fracture damages or exposes the pulp tissue, root canal treatment will be recommended. Your dentist will usually restore the tooth with a full crown.

A sample of a tooth showing a treatable cracked tooth

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 and extend onto 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. The extent of the crack will be determined under the operating microscope. Cracks that extend significantly onto the root have a poor long-term prognosis.

A depiction of a tooth split with distinct segments

Split Tooth

A split tooth is usually preceded by a cracked tooth. The split will separate the tooth into distinct segments. This type of tooth can never be saved intact. The position and extent of the split will dictate whether any portion of the tooth can be saved. Sometimes endodontic treatment by Dr. Aibel and restoration by your dentist can be used to save a portion of the tooth. Most split teeth, however, will be referred for extraction.

An example of a vertical fracture starting at the tooth's root

Vertical Root Fracture

Vertical root fractures originate in, and are confined to, the root. Unfortunately, they show minimal symptoms and may go unnoticed for quite some time. Usually, the tooth will need to be extracted once the diagnosis is made.