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What Are the Ways to Repair a Cracked Tooth?

A cross section of a tooth.
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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 March 2014
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To repair a cracked tooth, a dentist may need to either administer a crown or a filling. The type of treatment used typically depends on the severity of the crack. Minor surface cracks are fairly normal for most people, and these can usually be buffed and polished by a dentist to make them less noticeable. When a tooth has cracked completely in two, a dentist will normally need to assess the damage to determine whether he should fix it with a crown or a filling. A crown may be necessary to repair a severely cracked tooth, while cracks that are minor may be treated with fillings.

The primary problem with teeth that are cracked in two pieces and left untreated is that the cracks will likely get much worse over time. This tends to happen in much the same way as a cracked windshield in a car. The crack will typically spread until the entire tooth breaks off into two pieces. In most cases, the crack encompasses the entire tooth from the nerve up to the surface. A root canal might be necessary to repair a cracked tooth in a person who has a tooth crack that spreads to the nerves of her teeth.

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A person who has a minor surface crack, which is often called a craze line, will not normally require treatment from a dentist. Some people do choose to have surface cracks polished by a dentist so that they are not noticeable, but this isn't always necessary. These small surface cracks affect only the enamel of the tooth and do not normally cause any discomfort. Some people may be able to feel rough spots caused by these surface cracks on their teeth with their tongues. Having surface cracks buffed and polished by a dentist should not only make the cracks less noticeable, but might also take away the rough spots.

To repair a cracked tooth, a dentist will have to assess the damage so she can determine which type of treatment is best. Crowns may be very helpful for teeth that have major cracks because they can normally prevent the cracks from spreading. Fillings are usually helpful for minor cracks, but these may need to be redone over time if cracks start to spread. A person might want to repair a cracked tooth with a filling for a temporary quick fix. Fillings might also be a good option for a person who cannot afford a crown, because fillings are typically less expensive than crowns.

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Discuss this Article

SarahSon
Post 4

I have two teeth that have small cracks in them and I could feel them when I ran my tongue over them. Right now my dentist is just watching them, but I had him polish them so they were smooth.

I also had a chipped tooth that was on the bottom in the front of my mouth, and he evened this tooth out and polished it too. It feels much better now that he polished the teeth that were cracked.

I know eventually I will probably have to have them treated some other way, but as long as I don't have any cracked tooth pain, I am going to put it off as long as I can.

LisaLou
Post 3

@Mykol - I don't know about aging, but I think that radiation can really affect teeth. One of my friends went through a lot of radiation treatment for cancer. Ever since then, she has had a lot of problems with her teeth cracking.

She thinks this is a side effect from all the radiation she received. Even though it has been five years since her treatment, every time she goes to the dentist he finds another tooth that is cracked.

This is getting pretty expensive for her. The only positive thing is that most of her teeth now have crowns on them because they were cracked. Hopefully there aren't too many teeth left that she will have to have a crown put on.

It is never cheap to fix a cracked tooth, but in her case, just going with a filling probably would not have done much good.

Mykol
Post 2

Every time I go get my teeth cleaned, the dentist checks my teeth. One of the things he looks for is teeth that are cracked or just beginning to show signs of cracking.

He likes to keep a close eye on them and take care of them before they get worse. If I know I have a cracked tooth, I want to have it taken care of before I start having problems.

I don't like having dental work done and none of the cracked tooth treatment options sound very good to me, but I also want to keep my teeth as long as I can.

It seems like as I get older, I have noticed a change in my teeth and they don't seem as hard as they used to be. I wonder if it is common to see more cracked teeth in people as they age?

andee
Post 1
I have learned from experience that repairing a cracked tooth with a crown from the beginning is the way to go. I have had more than one cracked tooth, and at first I opted to have them filled.

It is expensive to have a crown put on, so I was hoping to save some money. In the end, I had to end up having a crown put on this tooth anyway. I should have just had this done from the start so I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore.

If I get another cracked tooth, I won't even hesitate to have a crown put on. Even though it won't be cheap, it will just save me the expense of paying for it later.

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