Cracks, cracked tooth

Because we live a little more stressful lives and live longer, we expose our teeth to several years of bad habits, such as biting hard objects, grinding and clenching teeth. These habits make our teeth more likely to crack.

Symptoms related to a cracked tooth are variable:

  • Unpredictable pain due to pressure during chewing
  • Pain when the tooth is exposed to extreme temperatures

When the hard tissues are cracked (enamel or dentin), chewing causes movements of the enamel which creates irritation of the pulp. Then when there is release of the pressure on this tooth, an intense and acute pain is felt. The repetition of such movements and pressures causes the pulp to become so damaged that it can no longer heal itself. It is at this stage that the tooth becomes sensitive to extreme temperatures. A cracked tooth untreated endodontically can result in infection of the pulp then this infection can extend to the bone and to the tissues surrounding the tooth (gum).


Types of cracks

Despite the fact that a crown can be placed on the fractured tooth in order to solidify it, this does not guarantee the success of all cases.


They are minimal and are found on the outer surface of the enamel. They are often found on the teeth of adults, they are painless and do not alter the appearance of the tooth. No endodontic treatment is necessary.

Coronary fracture

When the point of a cusp on which it is masticated (tip of a molar) is weakened, it breaks. This kind of fracture does not necessarily damage the pulp so endodontic treatment is not always necessary to preserve the tooth. To strengthen it, a crown should be placed by your dentist.

Vertical crack

There are two kinds of cracks: one which extends from the surface of mastication to the beginning of the root without the latter being distinctly cracked. The pulp is often damaged and root canal treatment is needed to treat the pulp. A crown is needed to keep the entire tooth. The other type of crack extends farther than the line of the gum, so there is also a crack in the root. Extraction is essential. No treatment will cure the tooth.

Vertical fissure of a portion of tooth and root

Such a crack is the result of a cracked tooth that has not been treated. It is recognized by a separate slot which makes the pieces can be separated. The tooth cannot be saved intact however, the position of the crack will determine if a portion of the tooth can be saved. In rare cases, an endodontic treatment, crown or other restoration can be considered as treatment by your dentist to save a portion of the tooth.

Vertical root fracture

This type of crack is distinct, it begins at the end of the root and then rises towards the chewing surface of the tooth. Because almost no symptoms are felt, the crack often goes unnoticed. It is when there is a manifestation of infection around the root that one realizes that there is a fracture. An extraction of the tooth is the suggested treatment. A fractured tooth of this nature will never heal.