Cracking a tooth can happen for a number of reasons, but whatever the cause, it can result in the development of various dental problems. The most common cause of a cracked or fractured tooth is an accident or injury to the mouth, such as biting down on something hard or being hit in the face during a fall. Other causes of tooth fractures include untreated cavities that weaken the tooth, old amalgam fillings, and playing sports or being in a car accident.
If you suspect you have a cracked tooth, or if you experience pain when your tooth comes into contact with heat or cold, or when you chew, it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Early treatment is the best way to avoid complications like an oral infection. The dentist may refer you to an endodontist for specialized care, or recommend treatment for the type, location, and severity of the crack. In the meantime, avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the pain exists.
Treatment for a cracked tooth may include polishing the tooth, repairing the tooth with filling material and a crown , or a root canal treatment if the crack reaches into the tooth tissue. In severe cases, where the crack infiltrates onto the root of the tooth, extraction of the tooth may be necessary.