A tooth with a crack is difficult to diagnose. The symptoms can be varied from occasional pain on biting and chewing, or pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold.
Cracks rarely show up on x-rays and are difficult to see.
Cracks can remain superficial, or they can propagate towards the centre of the tooth where the nerve tissue lies. This can cause considerable pain and eventual death of the tooth.
Cracks can cause differential movement of the separate parts of the tooth, the movement irritates the pulp and causes pain.
When the pulp is involved the tooth needs to be root treated to save it.
The treatment needed depends on the severity of the crack.
If the crack only involves the outer surface of the tooth, the enamel, then this part of the tooth has a risk of completely fracturing off. Part of the tooth may break off. The dentist can remove this weakened portion and replace the area with a white filling or they may decide to strengthen and bind the tooth with a provision of a crown.
If the crack extends into the nerve, you will need root canal treatment to save the tooth. The crack may extend beyond and into the root or below the gum level. This is difficult to see, if this happens it may cause the tooth to split – it may still be possible with root canal treatment to save the larger portion of the tooth.
The success of root canal treatment itself is close to 95% however, where a crack is present; which does not heal, yes you can still loose the tooth.
Despite the possibility for the tooth to worsen, the treatment you receive is important. It will be aimed at relieving painful symptoms and preventing a complete fracture of your teeth.
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