Should I be Worried about Tiny Cracks in my Teeth?

Categories: General Dentistry

should i worry about my cracked toothSanta Cruz, Scotts Valley CA

Noticing tiny cracks in your teeth could cause concern. While some tooth cracks are more critical than others, some are relatively minor. However, when you brush or floss your teeth and find cracks in the enamel, it is time to schedule an appointment with your Los Gatos family dentists at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry. To help reduce your worry about tiny cracks in your teeth, Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry is sharing some basic information about the cracks in your teeth and when it is necessary to see your dentist.

Categories of Enamel Cracks

According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), there are five types of cracks that could occur in teeth based on an article published in the Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry.

  1. Craze Lines – Craze lines are visible fractures that only affect the enamel, or top layer, of the tooth. Cracks in this category are less serious as they do not penetrate beneath the surface of the enamel. These almost invisible lines are caused by temperature changes in the mouth, teeth grinding and clenching, or trauma.
  2. Fractured Cusps – Cusps are the tiny bumps on the chewing surface of your molars or back teeth. A fractured cusp is more serious and often happens when restorations are incorrectly placed. This fracture may result from teeth grinding and clenching, biting on something hard, an injury to the face, or an old dental filling. A fractured cusp may or may not cause pain, or could aggrevate the tongue or cheek if the edge is sharp.
  3. Cracked Tooth – A cracked tooth is considered to have one solid line from the top to the bottom of the tooth and is more serious due to the size and location. This is the most common reason for needing a dental crown. If, however, the crack extends to the tooth’s pulp, which is where the blood supply and nerve are housed, it could cause extensive pain when you bite or chew, and the tooth may need root canal therapy.
  4. Split Tooth – Similar to a cracked tooth, the split tooth separates in two pieces. A split tooth could expose the interior of the root, causing pain and is viewed as a serious condition that needs immediate treatment. In these cases, a split tooth often may be painful when biting or chewing. Sometimes, a split tooth could be repaired, but it depends on the severity of the damage.
  5. Vertical Root Fracture – Vertical root fractures begin from the root, or inside where the soft tissue is located and may go completely through the tooth. In these cases, the tooth usually cannot be saved. However, speak with our restorative dentists in Scotts Valley to learn about your treatment options.

What causes teeth to fracture or crack?

When you notice a crack in your tooth, it can be surprising because you are not sure how it cracked in the first place. There are several reasons why a tooth becomes fractured, such as previous dental work, injury, aging, bruxism, and even from something you ate. To help protect your teeth, avoid biting down on hard substances such as ice, nutshells, or using your teeth to open packages or bite your fingernails. Also, protecting your mouth with a mouthguard if you play sports or suffer from bruxism, or grinding your teeth at night, prevents damage to your teeth. As always, the best way to avoid tooth damage is through preventative care.

What treatment options are available for cracked teeth?

Depending on your oral health and the extent of the cracked tooth, there are several restorative options available from which to choose. For craze lines, there is no necessary treatment. However, the cracks could become stained, resulting in the potential desire for tooth whitening. If the damage is more extensive and visible, your cosmetic dentists in Santa Cruz provide metal-free restorative options that could restore functionality and aesthetics to your smile. In addition to the already mentioned treatments, dental bonding, composite fillings, veneers, and onlays are also available based on your needs.

Cracked Tooth Repair in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley

Small cracks in your teeth could be a cause for concern. To determine the extent of the damage, the best course of action is to visit our general dentist in Scotts Valley and determine the proper treatment to restore the look and functionality of your tooth. When you have a cracked tooth, feel free to call Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry for an appointment at (831) 438-4411 or contact us today. We look forward to helping you reach your smile goals.