There are five types of tooth cracks identified by the American Association of Endodontists. Identifying the unique signs of these five types of tooth cracks will help provide guidance for treatment.
How to recognize the five types of tooth cracks
1. Craze lines
Craze lines are fractures that occur in the enamel only and do not penetrate into the dentin layer. There are several factors that contribute to the presence of craze lines in the teeth. These include trauma or recurrent functional forces. Also, certain bad habits like ice chewing may increase the tendency for craze lines to appear in the tooth.
2. Fractured cusp
A fractured cusp is a fracture of the crown of the tooth and could either be complete or incomplete. A fractured cusp is usually caused by a traumatic event. At the moment of impact, it may break and separate entirely. The best way to detect a fractured cusp is through the use of transillumination. Root canal therapy or crown lengthening may be needed to treat it, depending on the severity. Cuspal coverage could, however, be an adequate treatment if it is discovered at an early stage.
3. Cracked tooth
A cracked tooth is an incomplete fracture of the tooth, starting from the crown and extending to the subgingival. The crack may extend vertically into the root portion. One of the factors that lead to a cracked tooth is excessive occlusal forces. In addition, a weakened tooth structure may occur as a result of existing restorations. The treatment for a cracked tooth varies, depending on the extent of the crack. One procedure is root canal therapy, which would be ideal if pulpal and periapical symptoms dictate the need.
4. Split tooth
A split tooth is a complete fracture of the tooth, which is initiated from the crown and extends subgingivally. A split tooth is the end product of a cracked tooth. When a split tooth occurs, the tooth segments are completely separated. Although the split may occur suddenly, it is usually due to a long-term growth and expansion of a cracked tooth. There are certain habits that make the teeth susceptible to this condition, including ice chewing and bruxism, among others.
5. Vertical root fracture
A vertical root fracture is a complete or incomplete fracture of the root of the tooth. The fracture may either occur in part of the root or extend along its entire length. There are several factors that may result in a vertical root fracture. One is a hard impact, like a person falling on the floor or getting punched in the mouth. Another factor is a root canal. One way to forestall a vertical root fracture due to a root canal therapy is to minimize dentin removal during the procedure.
Dealing with a cracked tooth? Contact one of our dentists today.