Cracked tooth syndrome occurs when one or more of your teeth have small cracks, which don’t typically show up on X-rays. There are many causes, including grinding your teeth or having large fillings. Whatever the cause, cracked tooth syndrome can cause sensitivity and discomfort. If left untreated, it may also increase the risk of decay, further damage or an infection. If you believe you have cracked tooth syndrome, check out these treatment options to consider.
Composite bonding can be used in different ways to help treat cracked tooth syndrome. For starters, if you have metal fillings, your dentist may choose to replace them with tooth-colored fillings, which use composite resin. This is because the metal fillings may be causing your cracked tooth syndrome by causing further cracks to appear in the healthy tooth tissue, but composite fillings are gentle on teeth.
Patients who don’t have metal fillings can also benefit from composite bonding by having the dentist cover the affected tooth with composite resin to cover and protect the crack from sensitivity and infection.
If composite bonding doesn’t work or isn’t a great choice, a dental crown may be recommended. Dental crowns can be made from durable metal, which is excellent on molars; however, many patients prefer porcelain crowns (especially on front teeth) because they look like natural teeth. Either option strengthens weak teeth, including teeth with hairline cracks. Dental crowns (including porcelain dental crowns) may be partially covered by your insurance, depending on their location because they are usually medically necessary.
Veneers are similar dental crowns, but they only cover the front of your incisors, and they contain no metal. Instead, the veneer is a thin porcelain shell that is bonded to the tooth. For this reason, they aren’t as strong and durable as dental crowns, but they are great at hiding small cracks like composite bonding. Unlike dental crowns, however, veneers are usually considered cosmetic only, so your insurance carrier will not likely cover any of the cost.
Root Canal Treatment
Even if you get a dental crown or veneer, bacteria may have already entered the tooth’s pulp, increasing the risk of an infection; however, even if there is no infection, root canal therapy can stop sensitivity and discomfort by removing the nerves, blood vessels, etc. of the tooth. This essentially kills the tooth, but it continues to work like normal. Root canal treatment, however, can weaken teeth, so if you didn’t already get a crown, you’ll need one. In some cases, retreatment may be needed if some of the tooth’s pulp was missed.
If other treatments haven’t worked, or you simply can’t afford any other procedures, extraction is the final solution to deal with cracked tooth syndrome. Most dental insurance providers cover most or all of the cost of an extraction, which can save you money.
However, if you do have your tooth removed, you may want to consider tooth-replacement options, such as dental implants, which can be much more expensive than dental crowns and/or root canal therapy. Not getting a dental implant or dental bridge to replace the missing tooth can affect your confidence, but it also allows your other teeth to move.
Cracked tooth syndrome can cause mild to extreme pain, so you should seek treatment early. If caught early enough, dental bonding may be enough to correct the condition, but a dental crown or root canal treatment may be necessary. If you would like more information about cracked tooth syndrome and treatments, or if you simply want to schedule an appointment, contact us at Crest Hill Family Dental today.