A cracked tooth can be painful, but a crack doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose the tooth.

From time to time, we see patients with a cracked tooth (or cracked tooth syndrome) which is where a crack occurs, often in a molar or premolar tooth. Now, make no mistake: a crack, fracture, split or craze line can be painful. However, if we can treat a simple crack before it deteriorates into something more complex, we can usually save the tooth.


What are the symptoms and signs of cracked tooth syndrome?

It can be hard to see if a tooth has a crack in it – the cracks are often so small they can’t even be seen on a digital radiograph (x-ray) – but there are fairly obvious symptoms, including:

  • sharp pain when chewing, or after releasing 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:

  • a general weakening of the tooth, making it prone to fracturing
  • old or large amalgam restorations (fillings) contracting and expanding
  • clenching, grinding or a trauma/blow of some kind
  • chewing on hard foods or other hard substances.


How is a cracked tooth treated?

With early diagnosis and treatment, a cracked tooth may be saved, but treatment depends on the nature of the crack.

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.

On the other hand, a complex crack that has affected or inflamed the tooth’s pulp may call for root canal treatment, before the crown or restoration can be applied. Root canal treatment usually requires two or three additional appointments.


While your dentist may refer you to a specialist, such as an endodontist or prosthodontist, our experienced team can handle most cracked tooth cases without the need for a referral. So, if you’re concerned that you may have a cracked tooth, book a consultation.