Dental Tips |7 min read

How to Fix a Cracked Tooth?

How to Fix a Cracked Tooth

A cracked tooth can be a painful and concerning dental issue. It requires prompt attention and appropriate treatment, whether from an injury, accident, or underlying dental conditions.

By understanding these aspects, you can take the proper steps to address a cracked tooth and maintain your dental health. This article will explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, prevention methods, and necessary care for a cracked tooth.

Understanding cracked teeth

Cracked teeth can occur in different forms, each requiring specific treatment approaches.

The severity of the crack determines the necessary dental intervention. Here are the main types of cracks:

  • Craze lines: Superficial cracks that affect the outer enamel of the tooth
  • Fractured cusp: A crack that extends to the tooth’s chewing surface
  • Cracked tooth: A crack that extends vertically from the chewing surface toward the root but doesn’t split the tooth entirely
  • Split tooth: When a cracked tooth progresses to the point where it is split into two distinct segments
  • Vertical root fracture: A crack that begins in the tooth’s root and extends upward toward the crown

Symptoms of a cracked tooth

Identifying the symptoms of a cracked tooth can help you seek timely treatment.

The following signs may indicate a cracked tooth:

  • Sharp pain while biting or chewing
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Discomfort when releasing the bite
  • Swelling around the affected tooth
  • Intermittent pain that comes and goes

If you experience these symptoms, consult a dentist for a proper diagnosis and suitable treatment.

Causes of cracked teeth

Cracked teeth can result from various factors. Understanding the causes can help you prevent further damage.

Here are some common causes of cracked teeth:

  • Trauma or injury to the face or mouth
  • Biting down on hard objects like ice, nuts, or pens
  • Weakened tooth structure from large fillings or root canal treatment
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding) or clenching
  • Age-related wear and tear on the teeth
  • Premature wear from occlusal disease
  • Parafunctional habits, or any abnormal use of your teeth like biting your teeth or your

Additionally, certain risk factors increase the likelihood of experiencing a cracked tooth, including:

  • Chewing on non-food objects
  • Tooth decay leading to weakened teeth
  • Teeth misalignment or malocclusion

Educating our patients is a priority and part of every treatment plan at Restoration Dentistry. By being aware of these causes and risk factors, you can take preventive measures to reduce the chances of a cracked tooth.

Diagnosing a cracked tooth

A dental professional will conduct a comprehensive examination to diagnose a cracked tooth and may also utilize dental imaging techniques.

Here’s what you can expect during the diagnosis process:

  • Dental Examination: The dentist will visually inspect your teeth, looking for signs of cracks and evaluating your symptoms.
  • Dental Imaging: X-rays or other imaging techniques may be used to identify cracks that are not visible to the naked eye, especially those that extend beneath the gumline.

These diagnostic measures enable the dentist to determine the type and severity of the crack, which is crucial for recommending the most appropriate treatment.

Treatment options for a cracked tooth

The treatment options for a cracked tooth depend on the severity of the crack and its location.

Here are some common treatment approaches:

  • Dental Bonding: For small cracks or craze lines, dental bonding involves applying a tooth-colored resin material to the affected area, which is then shaped and hardened using a special light.
  • Inlay or Onlay: Using special techniques from Biomimetic Dentistry, compromised tooth
    structure is removed and cracks are dissected as far as possible without damaging the
    nerve. Then, fiber reinforcement is used and the missing tooth structure is replaced with
    an enamellike ceramic to strengthen the tooth and restore it to its original form and
    function. This is a modern and longerlasting treatment than a traditional dental crown.
  • Root Canal Therapy: If the crack extends into the pulp or nerve of the tooth, root canal therapy may be necessary. This procedure involves removing the infected or damaged tissue, cleaning the root canal, and sealing it with a filling material.
  • Tooth Extraction: In severe cases where the crack is too extensive to repair, extraction may be the only option. After extraction, the dentist can discuss possible replacement options, such as dental implants or bridges.

Your dentist will determine the appropriate treatment method based on the specific circumstances of your cracked tooth.

Preventing cracked teeth

While accidents can happen, there are preventive measures you can take to reduce the risk of a cracked tooth.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice daily, floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
  • Wear Mouthguards: If you participate in sports or activities with a risk of dental injuries, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from potential impacts.
  • Avoid Certain Habits: Avoid chewing on hard objects, such as ice, pens, or popcorn kernels. Additionally, refrain from using your teeth as tools to open packages or bottles.

By adopting these preventive measures, you can significantly lower the likelihood of experiencing a cracked tooth.

Caring for a cracked tooth

If you suspect a cracked tooth, taking immediate action and caring for it properly before seeking professional help is crucial.

Here are some immediate actions you can take before seeing a dentist:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater to clean the area and alleviate discomfort.
  • Apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth to reduce swelling.
  • Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the cracked tooth is.
  • Stick to soft foods and avoid hard or sticky substances.

After these initial steps, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. They will provide further guidance on how to care for your cracked tooth and determine the appropriate treatment.

When to seek professional help

If you suspect a cracked tooth or experience any associated symptoms, seek professional help promptly.

Don’t wait for the pain or discomfort to worsen; early intervention can prevent further damage and complications.

Contact your dentist to schedule an examination and receive the necessary treatment.

The importance of prompt treatment

Ignoring a cracked tooth can lead to significant consequences.

Over time, an untreated cracked tooth can result in more severe pain, increased risk of infection, and even tooth loss.

By seeking prompt treatment and following your dentist’s recommendations, you can minimize the potential risks and ensure the best possible outcome for your oral health.


Can a cracked tooth heal on its own?

No, a cracked tooth cannot heal on its own. It requires professional dental treatment to prevent further damage.

How long does it take to fix a cracked tooth?

The treatment duration depends on the crack’s severity and the chosen treatment method. It can range from a single dental visit for dental bonding to multiple visits for more extensive treatments like root canal therapy.

Is a cracked tooth a dental emergency?

A cracked tooth can be considered a dental emergency, especially if it causes severe pain or bleeding. It’s essential to seek immediate professional help in such cases.

Can I prevent a cracked tooth while playing sports?

Yes, wearing a mouthguard while playing sports can significantly reduce the risk of a cracked tooth and other dental injuries.

Are cracked teeth common?

Cracked teeth are relatively common, especially among individuals who engage in activities that pose a risk to dental health, such as contact sports or teeth grinding. Regular dental checkups and preventive measures can help minimize the chances of experiencing a cracked tooth.


A cracked tooth is a dental issue that requires immediate attention and appropriate treatment.

By understanding the types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for a cracked tooth, you can make informed decisions to address this problem effectively.

Remember to take preventive measures, care for your cracked tooth, and seek professional help promptly.

Book a consultation with the dentist today to maintain a healthy smile and overall well-being.

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Restoration Dentistry is located in Meridian, ID, and we happily welcome folks from neighboring areas.

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