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There are many reasons that a tooth can crack. Bad oral habits such as clenching and grinding teeth, getting knocked in the face during sports, or taking a fall and hitting your face or jaw sometimes results in a cracked tooth. Treating the crack in a timely manner is very important because it can harbor bacteria that cause decay and threaten the tooth’s structure.

The severity and location of the crack will determine how Dr. Joseph Neeley will fix it. A crack is defined by what part of the tooth it affects. For example, if just part of the chewing surface of the tooth is broken off, it’s called a fractured cusp. A fractured tooth is when a vertical crack extends from the biting surface of the tooth down towards the root. It can sometimes form into a split tooth if the crack extends too far and separates the tooth into parts. And other times, a crack can start at the root and extend upward. These are hard to detect, and the surrounding tissue and bone are often infected before they are discovered.

Depending on the location of the crack, a fractured cusp can be treated with either a filling or a crown. A cracked tooth is treatable with a crown if the crack does not extend below the gumline – it will need to be extracted – or into the pulp. If it does extend into the pulp, the tooth might be saved by a root canal treatment and crown. A split tooth cannot be saved intact, but part of it might, depending on the fracture’s location and extent. A tooth with a fractured root will most likely be extracted, but can occasionally be saved by a procedure that removes the cracked portion.

If you’ve recently cracked a tooth, contact Barton Oaks Dental Group in Austin, Texas, today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Joseph Neeley. We will be happy to assist you.