Cracked tooth syndrome occurs when a tooth has a crack in it. They usually occur on molars and premolars but can affect any teeth. They are often so small they can’t be seen or may not even be detected on a digital radiograph.

Different terms such as craze line, fracture or split may be used to describe the crack.

What are the symptoms and signs of cracked tooth syndrome?

  • Sharp pain upon chewing or after release of biting pressure
  • Pain or discomfort when exposed to cold or hot foods and liquids
  • Sensitivity to sweet foods

What causes cracked tooth syndrome?

Some common causes include:

  • Weakening of the tooth making them prone to fracturing
  • Old, large amalgam restorations that have contracted and expanded
  • Clenching and grinding
  • Chewing on hard foods or other hard substances
  • Trauma to teeth such as a blow of some type

How is a cracked tooth treated?

Early diagnosis and treatment may save the tooth. A simple crack usually involves removing the weakened cusp and placing a large restoration or crown on the tooth. A crown may be more effective if there is more than one fractured cusp or if the tooth is heavily restored.

If the tooth is being prepared for a crown, a temporary crown is used allowing the pain to subside quickly. In some instances when the pain or discomfort doesn’t subside, root canal treatment may be advised.

A complex crack where the crack has progressed to the pulp or causes inflammation of the pulp, root canal treatment may be required before the crown or restoration is done. Root canal treatment usually requires 2 to 3 additional appointments.

You Dentist may refer you a specialist such as an Endodontist or Prosthodontist if your case is complicated.