• There are various ways to repair a cracked tooth. The treatment depends on the extent of the damage.
  • Treatments include bonding, dental crowns, root canals, and tooth extraction.The proper treatment for you will depend on the type of your cracks.
  • Signs of a cracked tooth vary based on the degree of damage.
  • We've got your back in dental emergencies. Use Authority Dental to find emergency dental clinics with extended hours. Over 1,500 locations available. Contact us today.

Is it possible to fix a cracked tooth? Here's everything you need to know.

How do dentists fix a cracked tooth?

Whenever possible, a dentist will try to save a cracked tooth. Prompt treatment significantly increases the chances of preserving the structure.


If your injury affects only the enamel and the fracture is shallow the dentist may recommend a restorative procedure involving composite. This is often referred to as a “filling”.  

Your dentist will perform contouring with a resin based filling  material. It will help repair the cracks and can improve the appearance of your cracked tooth

Dental crown

A more severe injury that has resulted in major tooth structure loss may require a dental crown. Oftentimes root canal treated teeth will be recommended for a crown as well.

A crown is a prosthetic device that is cemented over the tooth. This will cover the entire tooth allowing for the broken tooth to have increased protection. If the tooth has signs of infection or if the crack has spread to the pulp, the most central layers where the tooth’s nerves are housed, a root canal treatment will oftentimes be recommended. 

Root canal

Deep fractures affecting an entire tooth or originating from the root usually require root canal treatment.

The dentist will remove the tooth pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels, and possibly bacteria infiltrates. If bacteria is not cleared from the tooth it can lead to infection.  Then, the doctor will fill the tooth with a biocompatible dental material and seal the access cavity with a dental filling. 

Usually, after this procedure, you will need a dental crown to protect your tooth.

Tooth extraction

Medical professionals rely on extraction when none of the available dental treatments are suitable for the problem. Dentists prefer to preserve a natural tooth whenever possible. However, sometimes a cracked tooth need to be pulled.

After the broken tooth extraction procedure, you will need some time for your gums to heal. . Your dentist will discuss replacement options which can include an implant, bridge or removable partial. 

Types of tooth cracks

Cracks can have a variable level of severity. Knowing exactly what type of crack you might have developed will help in selecting the best treatment.

Craze lines

Craze lines are very small and almost invisible cracks on the outer surface of your enamel. They usually do not cause toothache and do not require immediate treatment.Your dental provider may suggest monitoring the tooth or recommend a more preventative option depending on the amount of crazing and additional factors. 

Fractured cusp

A fractured cusp can affect the outer and middle layers. It is common to see a cusp fracture around a dental filling. It is usually not an extensive crack that reaches the dental pulp, or innermost layer of your tooth.

Even if such a crack forms without pain, you should still see a dentist to make sure the damage does not lead to more serious dental injuries. Your dental provider will determine the appropriate treatment after evaluation of your tooth and its remaining tooth structure. 

Cracks that extend into the gum line

More severe fractures extend to the gum line and root. Depending on their severity, the condition may not be treatable. In such a case, you may need extraction and replacement options for the tooth If there is adequate tooth structure remaining the dentist may advise saving the tooth with restorative treatment. 

Split tooth

A split tooth has an even more advanced crack. It often extends beyond the gum line. Such a crack can separate the tooth into two segments.

It is often not possible to save such a tooth depending on the depth of the fracture. 

Vertical root fractures

Vertical root fractures start below the gum line. This differs from the previously mentioned fractures that affect the crown, or chewing portion, of the tooth first.  

Depending on the depth of the fracture and location you may not feel discomfort. If the vertical root fracture is to the pulp of the tooth you may experience infection or intense pain. The likelihood of needing an extraction for a tooth that has a vertical root fracture is very high. 

Causes of a cracked tooth

Physical injury to your face or jaw bone can affect your teeth and cause them to fracture. 

Chewing on certain foods, such as hard candies and biting on inedible objects can often result in a broken tooth. In addition, abrupt changes in extreme temperatures can cause hairline cracks. 

For example, you might eat an ice cube  right after eating very hot soup which can lead to hairline cracks. The drastic change in temperature causes the enamel, or outermost layer of your tooth, to expand and contract too quickly which can lead to cracking.  

The stronger the outer enamel is, the more resistant the tooth is to physical impact. Anything that weakens the enamel makes it more vulnerable to physical pressure. Such vulnerability can lead to a broken tooth or cracked tooth syndrome. The latter is often defined as an incomplete fracture of the dentin, or the second inner layer of the tooth. The crack can 

Several factors can cause damage to the enamel layer. This includes, teeth grinding, clenching, and poor oral hygiene. Excessive consumption of acidic foods or drinks can also lead to erosion of the enamel. Beverages and foods that contain sugar can also play a role in decay of the enamel. 

Cracked tooth symptoms

Craze lines and fractured cusps might not lead to any painful sensations in your oral cavity.

More severe damage may increase sensitivity to sweets and temperature. Chewing and putting pressure on the tooth may be painful. The gums surrounding a broken tooth may swell if an infection develops. Signs of a broken tooth infection can include an abscess, pain, and foul odor from the mouth. 

How is a fractured tooth diagnosed?

Large fractures, unless hidden under the gum line, are usually visible. However, many smaller cracks that require treatment are more difficult to diagnose even with an x-ray examination.

Your dentist can use a dental explorer to feel the crack or apply a special dental dye to make the injury visible. Periodontal probing can help reveal vertical fractures. Your dentist may also ask you to bite down on something to check for  painful sensations.

Examining your dental history of bruxism and your eating habits is also helpful in making a diagnosis.


How serious is a crack in a tooth?

The severity of the crack depends on its type and size. You should treat all visible cracks as emergencies, even if they do not turn out to be serious injuries. Only your dentist can diagnose the severity of the crack. . Urgently seek medical help if you experience excessive pressure and pain. Untreated cracks weaken the tooth, create room for infection and can lead to tooth loss.

Does a cracked tooth hurt?

Deep or vertical cracks are almost always painful. A fractured cusp may not cause painful sensations, but it can increase the sensitivity to temperature. . Pain may also occur during chewing. Craze lines are oftentimes too small to cause pain.

Which teeth are most likely to fracture?

According to the review of the numerous studies published in the literature, the majority of all broken teeth are molars. The higher pressure exerted on them, more frequent contact with hard foods and a lower level of hygiene may explain this statistic. The location of molars makes proper cleaning difficult and promotes enamel decay and cracks.

Is a cracked tooth an emergency?

A tooth with visible cracks or a painful one without obvious damage is an emergency. The latter may have hidden root cracks. Leaving untreated cracks can lead to structure decay.

How can cracked teeth be prevented?

You cannot prevent accidents that can break your teeth, but you can minimize the risks. Take care of your enamel through proper dental hygiene and a diet with a minimum of acidic, sugary, and hard foods. Use a mouthguard during contact sports and to address bruxism.