Putting a Crown on a Cracked Tooth

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that cover the visible portion of natural teeth (tooth crown). The purpose of dental crowns is to strengthen and improve the appearance of teeth. They are used to restore the shape and function of teeth and to protect weak or sensitive teeth from further damage. Dental crowns can be made from a variety of materials, including porcelain, gold, and metal alloys. In this blog post, we will discuss what is the benefits of putting a crown on a cracked tooth and the alternatives.

What Causes Teeth to Crack?

A cracked tooth can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Teeth grinding and clenching.
  • Chewing or biting on hard food or objects, for example, ice, nuts, hard candy, and pen.
  • Trauma, for example, a fall or a sports injury.
  • Large tooth decay or filling can weaken the remaining tooth structure.
  • A sudden temperature change, for example, drinking a cold beverage after eating extremely hot food.

If you have a cracked tooth, you should visit your dentist to assess the tooth and determine the right treatment option is suitable for you, such as putting a crown.

Chewing or biting on hard food or objects can crack your teeth
Chewing or biting on hard food or objects can crack your teeth.

Types of Cracked Tooth & When Putting a Crown Needed?

The treatment depends on the length, depth, and location of cracks on the tooth. The types of cracked teeth include:

  • Craze lines: These are tiny hairline fractures that only affect the surface of the tooth. This type doesn’t usually require treatment if it doesn’t cause any pain or sensitivity.
  • Fractured cusp: This type of crack occurs when a tooth’s cusp (the pointed part of the tooth) fractures. If the crack is minor, your dentist may repair it using filling material. If the crack is more severe, your dentist may recommend putting a dental crown on the cracked tooth.
  • Incomplete tooth cracks: if the tooth has a vertical crack that hasn’t yet reached the gum line, it usually can be saved by putting a crown on the cracked tooth. However, if the crack goes below the gum line, the tooth will likely need to be extracted.
  • Split tooth: this crack splits the tooth into two segments. The tooth usually can’t be saved and will need to be extracted.
  • Vertical root fracture: this type of crack starts from the root and travels upward to the gum line. It doesn’t usually cause pain or symptoms unless the tooth becomes infected. your dentist will likely recommend the extraction of the tooth.

Signs & Symptoms

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If you have a cracked tooth, you may experience:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks.
  • Pain when chewing.
  • Aches and pain in the jaw.
  • Teeth that are more sensitive to pressure.

If you experience any of these symptoms, please visit your dentist as soon as possible for assessment and to determine the best treatment.

Treatment Options for Cracked Teeth

Depending on the severity of the crack, your dentist will determine the best treatment option for you. Here are some treatment options:

  • Bonding: if the tooth crack is minor, your dentist may use a resin material to fill in the crack and protect the tooth. Read more about whether composite bonding is suitable for replacing a missing tooth.
  • Root canal treatment: if the tooth crack has affected the tooth’s nerve, your dentist may recommend a root canal treatment (RCT) to remove the inflamed pulp and restore the tooth. After RCT, putting a crown on the cracked tooth is recommended to prevent further damage.
  • Dental crown: putting a crown on the cracked tooth can help restore the tooth’s shape, strength, and appearance. Crowns are also helpful in protecting cracked teeth from further damage.
  • Tooth extraction: if the tooth is severely damaged or can’t be restored, your dentist may recommend tooth extraction and replacing it with a dental bridge or implant.
Dental crowns can restore the shape and function of cracked teeth
Dental crowns can restore the shape and function of cracked teeth and protect them from further damage.

Tooth Extraction or Putting a Crown on the Cracked Tooth?

If your tooth is cracked, you may not be sure if putting a crown on the cracked tooth is right for you. Your dentist can help you determine the best course of action by using dental x-rays. Looking at the x-ray image, your dentist can see whether the crack extends below the gum line and how deep it is. They will also be able to see if the crack has affected the tooth’s nerve.

If the crack is above the gum line, your dentist may recommend a root canal treatment and putting a crown on the cracked tooth to protect it from further damage. If the crack splits the tooth into two pieces, putting a crown on the cracked tooth may not be possible, and extraction is recommended. Also, your dentist will recommend replacing the missing tooth with a dental implant or bridge. Read more about replacing a pulled tooth.

Putting a Crown on a Cracked Tooth – Conclusion

If you have a cracked tooth, visit your dentist for an assessment. Depending on the severity of the crack, your dentist will determine the best treatment option for your case. If the crack is small, you may only need bonding to fill the crack. If the crack is more severe, your dentist may recommend root canal treatment and putting a dental crown on the cracked tooth to prevent further damage. If the crack extends below the gum line, your dentist may recommend tooth extraction and replacing it with a dental bridge or implant.

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