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Cracked Tooth

Cracked Tooth: What is it, Symptoms, Prevention, Treatment, Consequences | National Dental Centre Singapore

Cracked Tooth - What is it for


With increasing life expectancy, dental awareness and knowledge, people are keeping their teeth much longer. This exposes teeth to more years of crack inducing habits such as chewing on hard food and parafunctional habits like grinding or bruxism. 

What are the types of cracks?

Teeth can crack in several different ways. Cracks may affect the crown, root or both parts of the tooth.

Cracked Tooth - Symptoms

What are the symptoms of a cracked tooth?

Cracked teeth can present variably. One may experience pain when chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, or even spontaneous pain.

Cracked Tooth - How to prevent?

What can I do to prevent cracked teeth?
​While cracked teeth are not completely preventable, there are some steps to take to minimise your risk:

  • Avoid chewing on hard food or objects (e.g. Ice, hard nuts, pens etc.)
  • Consider a night guard if you habitually clench or grind your teeth.
  • Wear a mouthguard for strenuous physical activity.

Cracked Tooth - Causes and Risk Factors

Cracked Tooth - Diagnosis

Why does a cracked tooth hurt?
Cracks confined to the enamel (outer hard layer of tooth) do not have symptoms. However, when the crack has extended into dentine (inner hard layer), chewing can cause micro-movement and changes in the pulp (inner core) resulting in pulpal irritation.

Cracks are pathways for bacteria to enter, leading to infection of the pulp and its surrounding tissues. Over time, the pulp can become irreversibly damaged and the tooth can hurt spontaneously even when not in function. In such instances, root canal treatment will be required.

Cracked Tooth - Treatments

How will a cracked tooth be treated?
• Full coronal coverage (e.g. crown) is usually indicated. 

• A metal band (Fig 1 and 2) can be placed to act as a brace to splint the crack(s) and prevent their further progression prior to crown placement. 

• If there are signs and/or symptoms of disease in the pulp, root canal treatment will be done before coronal coverage. The treatment and outcome of a cracked tooth depends on the type, location and extent of the crack. Your endodontist is the best person to advise you on the appropriate treatment.

After treatment for a cracked tooth, will my tooth completely heal?
After root canal treatment, most cracked teeth will require a permanent crown to continue to function normally. However, it is important to realise that the root canal treatment takes away the pain but will not cure cracks as these are physical defects on the tooth surfaces. Unlike a broken bone, the fracture in a cracked tooth will not heal. Placement of a crown provides protection and retards progression of cracks. Nonetheless, some cracks may continue to progress and separate, resulting in eventual loss of tooth.

Cracked Tooth - Preparing for surgery

Cracked Tooth - Post-surgery care

  • Updated on 2019-12-30T16:00:00Z