The health of our teeth plays a crucial role in our overall well-being, yet many of us remain unaware of the common dental problems that can occur, such as a cracked tooth. Recognising cracked tooth symptoms is vital to prevent further damage, alleviate discomfort, and ensure the longevity of our dental health. This article aims to provide detailed insights into identifying the signs and treatment of a cracked tooth. By educating ourselves about these symptoms, we can seek timely professional intervention, drastically reducing the risks associated with untreated dental fractures. Welcome to your guide to understanding and identifying cracked tooth symptoms. 


What is a Cracked Tooth?

A cracked tooth syndrome, as the name suggests, is a tooth that has suffered a break or fracture, often due to various factors such as physical trauma, biting on hard objects, or even severe tooth decay. These cracks can range from minor fissures affecting only the tooth’s enamel to more severe fractures that reach the tooth’s inner layers, also known as the dentin and pulp.

The different types of vertical root fractures include:

  • Craze lines (tiny cracks that only influence the outer tooth enamel).
  • Fractured cusp (breaks in the chewing side of the tooth).
  • Cracked tooth (a crack vertically extends from the chewing surface towards the root).
  • Split tooth (a tooth is divided into two distinct segments).
  • Vertical root fracture (cracks begin in the root and extend towards the chewing surface).

Each type of tooth crack presents varying degrees of risk and severity. Some may remain asymptomatic and require no treatment, while others could cause significant discomfort and necessitate immediate dental intervention. Getting an insight into the signs and symptoms of a cracked tooth is essential as early detection can prevent the fracture from worsening, reducing potential damage and maintaining optimal oral health. 


Common Cracked Tooth Symptoms

The symptoms of cracked teeth can vary greatly depending on the kind, location, and severity of the crack. However, certain symptoms are common and should serve as red flags, signalling the need for immediate dental evaluation. 


cracks teeth dentist manage st leonardsPain When Eating or Drinking

One of the most frequent symptoms is sharp or intense pain when eating or drinking, especially when consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages. This pain occurs because the crack exposes the sensitive inner layers of the tooth to external stimuli. 


Sensitivity to Temperature

Another common sign of a cracked tooth is increased sensitivity to temperature changes. When a tooth crack exposes the dentin and pulp, the tooth becomes more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, resulting in sharp, sudden pain or discomfort. 


Swelling of the Gum Around the Tooth

If you notice any swelling or inflammation in the gum line surrounding a particular tooth, it could indicate a cracked tooth. This swelling typically occurs due to an infection developed due to the crack. 


Discomfort When Releasing Biting Pressure

An unusual symptom that often indicates a cracked tooth is experiencing pain or discomfort when you release biting pressure, not when applying it. The change in pressure can cause the crack to open and close, triggering a jolt of pain. 


Uncommon Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth

While certain symptoms like pain and sensitivity are typically associated with a cracked tooth, there are less common signs that may go unnoticed or be mistaken for other oral health issues. The following are some uncommon symptoms of a cracked tooth: 


Discolouration or Change in Tooth Colour

When a tooth crack allows bacteria to infiltrate the inner sections of the tooth, it can lead to discolouration over time. You might notice a darkening or yellowing of the affected tooth, different from usual teeth staining caused by food and drinks. 


impacting oral health dental crack st leonardsDifficulty in Pinpointing Pain

An unusual aspect of having a cracked tooth is the intermittent or fluctuating nature of the pain.

Sometimes, the discomfort is hard to pinpoint because it doesn’t come from the cracked tooth but radiates to other areas in the jaw or face.

This vague pain can make it harder to diagnose a cracked tooth. 


Unexplained Bad Breath or Foul Taste

A cracked tooth can sometimes lead to an infection or abscess if left untreated. Bacteria accumulation can result in persistent bad breath or a foul taste in the mouth, even after brushing or using mouthwash. 


Increased Pain During Certain Movements

Certain body movements, like bending over or jumping, could increase the pressure on the teeth, causing a sudden jolt of pain in the cracked tooth. This symptom can often be mistaken for sinus issues or headaches. 


Feeling a Sharp Edge

You may feel a sharp edge or rough area with your tongue, even if the crack isn’t visible. Not all cracks can be seen, especially at the back of the mouth or on the tooth’s root.

These less common symptoms highlight the importance of regular dental check-ups. Dentists can detect cracks before they become symptomatic or lead to more serious dental problems. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to consult your dentist promptly to prevent further complications. 



How a Cracked Tooth Impacts Oral Health?

If left untreated, a cracked tooth can significantly affect one’s oral health, leading to severe complications over time. Understanding the potential impacts on oral health is essential to emphasise the importance of timely dental intervention when symptoms of a cracked tooth are noticed. 


Infection and Abscesses

A crack in the tooth can provide an entry point for bacteria, potentially leading to infections. If the abscess reaches the tooth pulp, it can result in a painful dental abscess. This condition requires immediate treatment to prevent the spread of infection, which can lead to more serious health issues.


Gum Disease

When bacteria accumulate around a cracked tooth, it can contribute to gum disease, a condition characterised by inflammation, bleeding gum lines, and in severe cases, loss of gum tissue and teeth. 


Altered Chewing Function

A fractured tooth can make chewing painful and difficult, leading to an altered chewing function. Over time, this can cause excessive damage to other teeth and may contribute to issues with the jaw, such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). 


Tooth Loss

In extreme cases, if a cracked tooth remains untreated, it may need to be extracted to prevent further complications. Tooth loss can result in additional challenges, including shifting of remaining teeth, facial structure changes, and speech and digestion difficulties. 


Treatment Options for a Cracked Tooth

When it comes to treatment for a cracked tooth, several options are available depending on the severity and location of the crack. Treatment is crucial to alleviate symptoms, prevent further damage, and maintain oral health. Here are some of the most common treatment strategies employed by dentists: 


Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a minimally surgical procedure that can repair minor tooth cracks. Using a tooth-coloured composite resin, your dentist will fill the crack to restore the tooth’s structure and prevent further damage. The material is hardened with a special light and then structured and polished to match the rest of the tooth. 


Dental Veneers

Your dentist might recommend a dental veneer if the crack is more extensive, especially on a front tooth. A veneer is a thin shell of porcelain that masks the entire front surface of the tooth, providing a flawless, natural appearance while also sealing the crack to prevent additional damage. 


cracked teeth overview st leonardsDental Crowns

Dental crowns are often used when the crack is severe or when a large piece of the tooth has broken off.

The crown acts as a protective cap over the tooth, shielding it from further harm and restoring its normal function.

Crowns can be made from various materials, including porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or all-metal. 


Root Canal Treatment

If the crack has penetrated the pulp of the tooth, causing pain or infection, a root canal might be required. This procedure involves removing the damaged pulp, cleaning and disinfecting the root canal, and then dental filling and sealing the space. 


Tooth Extraction

In cases where the natural tooth is severely damaged and cannot be saved, extraction may be the only option. After removing the tooth, your dentist will discuss replacement options, such as dental implants or dental bridges, to restore your smile and prevent other teeth from shifting. 



If you’ve identified any of the symptoms of cracked tooth syndrome mentioned in this guide, don’t wait for the situation to worsen. At St Leonard’s Green Dental, our experienced team is committed to providing comprehensive dental care, including accessing your dental history, from cracked tooth diagnosis to suggesting the best-suited treatment plan for your tooth fracture.

Maintaining oral health is an integral part of your overall well-being. Don’t let a cracked tooth compromise your comfort and health. If you suspect you have a cracked tooth, contact us at (02) 9158 6211. We’re here to help restore your smile and ensure your dental health is at its best. 





Cracked Teeth – American Association of Endodontists

Fractured Tooth (Cracked Tooth): What It Is, Symptoms & Repair,anybody%20can%20crack%20a%20tooth



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