What Is a Fractured Tooth?

According to a 2021 research article, the rate of cracked teeth in people over 40 is 80%. With this rate being so high, people need to have the facts laid out for them about what constitutes a cracked or fractured tooth and what they can do about it.

This guide will explain what a fractured tooth is and other similar conditions you should be aware of. We’ll even go into more detail and let you know the types of tooth fractures that can happen and how to prevent fractured teeth.

So, let’s get started!

What Are Tooth Fractures?

“Tooth fracture” or “cracked tooth” are interchangeable terms. You may also refer to the condition as CTS (cracked tooth syndrome). Whatever you want to call the condition, all it means is that you notice a crack in your tooth.

The problem with having a tooth fracture is that it can split and break apart if left alone. The people who are most prone to tooth fractures are older people and children. Yet, people of any age can get a fractured tooth.

Types of Teeth That Tend to Crack

There are two main parts of your teeth: the root of the tooth (the part below your gums) and the crown (the part you can see). Then there are certain sections that both the root and crown have. These sections include the dentin, pulp, and enamel.

Dentin is the middle layer in your tooth. Pulp is the soft tissue inside your tooth containing nerves and blood vessels. Enamel is the hard outer layer of a tooth with a natural white color.

All parts of a tooth can crack for various reasons. However, some teeth are more prone to fracturing than others. For example, even though your molars are your most robust teeth, they are much more likely to crack.

Here are the different teeth types that are most likely to crack, in order of most likely to least:

The chances of you cracking teeth other than the ones we just mentioned are low. However, the chance of breaking your mandibular molars is potentially more significant.

If you have a cracked tooth, it may feel sensitive or hurt. However, sometimes, you might not feel a thing.

Whatever the case, it’s crucial that you get your or a family member’s tooth fractures checked out by your family dentist right away to prevent any further potential issues.

Causes of Fracture Teeth

There can be several causes for fractured teeth.

Older people are prone to tooth cracking as their teeth get weaker. It’s often people 50 or over that suffer from the condition, and all it can take is to bite on harder types of foods such as candy or popcorn kernels. Yet, biting on hard foods at any age can cause fractured teeth; it’s just older people are more vulnerable to it happening.

Tooth fracturing can also occur in teeth with large root canals or dental fillings. These dental treatments can weaken your teeth, making them vulnerable to cracking when eating harder foods.

Also, trauma can cause teeth to crack, things like physical violence, falls, car accidents, and sports injuries.

Symptoms Associated With Broken Teeth

Some symptoms you might experience if you have cracked or broken teeth are:

  • Pain when chewing
  • Pain that comes and goes
  • Pain when you eat certain food types (sweet or cold especially)
  • Swelling around your tooth
  • General toothache

As we already mentioned, sometimes you might not feel any discomfort. So it’s good to have regular checkups so your dentist can inspect your teeth for fractures or other issues.

How Will a Dentist Check Your Teeth?

The general process is that your dentist will first look at your teeth to see if they can notice any fractures or broken aspects. They will also look for swelling in your gums.

They may then ask you to bite down on something to check if you experience any pain. Furthermore, they might use a special transillumination light to help them see cracks easier in your teeth if you have any.

A dentist may also use a unique colored solution on your teeth to help them see cracks better. Or, they could even resort to X-raying your teeth.

Plus, there is a method called periodontal probing that a dentist may use to feel out a crack rather than see it.

Tooth Fracture Types

You can get vertical cracks that can be small or run right along the vertical line from your root to the top of your tooth.

It might be the case that these vertical cracks occur from the top or root of your tooth. If you have a long vertical crack, it can develop into a split tooth where the entire tooth breaks apart.

There are also hairline-type cracks called craze lines on the enamel. A fractured cusp occurs on a dental filling. If you have one of these, it often won’t hurt.

Fractured Tooth Treatment

There are a few ways a dentist can treat a fractured tooth. These methods include:

  • Root canals
  • Bonding
  • A crown
  • Veneers

A dentist may resort to extraction if the condition of your fractured tooth is poor. If this is the case, you would have to look into tooth replacement options.

How to Deal With a Fractured Tooth

If you suspect you might have a fractured tooth, go to your family dentist as soon as possible. By doing so, you reduce the risk of developing infections and further damage to your tooth.

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