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Cracked tooth: symptoms and causes

Any part of a tooth can be damaged and lead to cracks or microfractures that if not treated on time, can cause bigger problems.

How to find out if you have a cracked tooth or dental microfractures?

The main symptoms usually are pain when chewing different foods, as well as an increased dental sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. However, we should bear in mind that such discomfort associated with a cracked tooth may come and go, which makes it harder to spot.

Other signs would be swollen gums surrounding the cracked tooth and a feeling of discomfort between your teeth and gums.

Causes of a cracked tooth

Teeth crack because of a variety of issues, including:

-Pressure from teeth grinding

-Fillings so large they weaken the integrity of the tooth

-Chewing or biting hard foods, such as ice, nuts, or hard candy

-Blows to the mouth, such as might happen with a car accident, sporting injury, fall, or even a fistfight

- Abrupt changes in temperature in the mouth — for instance, from eat something extremely hot and then trying to cool your mouth with ice water

- Age, with most teeth cracks occurring in people over 50

Treatmens for a cracked tooth

Nowadays there are different options to treat a cracked tooth, which includes crowns, bonds and root canals to name a few.


First of all, it is necessary to visit your dentist so that he can assess the damages and indicate the best treatment option. If there is a small crack, there are two possible treatments:

-Fill the area that has been damaged

-Use a veneer to cover the damage.


If the fracture is big, the possible solution may depend on whether the root is damaged or not. Normally, the treatment would consist of a dental crown to restore the shape of the tooth, to preserve their functionality and giving it a natural look.

If there is damage to the root, it will be necessary to perform a root canal before placing the crown, although in some cases it will be required to perform an extraction to place an implant.

Self-care and prevention

While you can’t treat a cracked tooth at home, you can try to prevent one.

Strong teeth are less likely to crack, so be sure to practice good dental hygiene. -Brush twice a day, floss daily, and visit your dentist every six months for preventive care.

-Avoid chewing on hard foods.

-Always wear a mouth guard if you play contact sports, and use one while you sleep if you grind your teeth.


If you think you’ve cracked a tooth, rinse with warm water to clean your mouth and use a cold compress on the outside of your cheek to prevent swelling. Anti-inflammatory painkillers, like ibuprofen can reduce swelling and pain. And make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. Delaying treatment puts your mouth at even greater risk.


Dr. Armellini received her dental degree from the Central University of Venezuela. She received an MBA from the University of Michigan and embarked on a clinical fellowship in Implantology Prosthodontics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.


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