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Cracked Teeth

With the collective experience of the dentists at The Dental Junction, we have only ever seen four teeth that have fractured that have never had a filling, however, we have seen thousands of broken teeth that have been filled. In other words, once a tooth has a filling, it is never the same as it was before. Fortunately, small and medium fillings seem to last the distance, however, larger fillings (especially amalgam fillings), fail at some stage in their life.

Cracks may appear and have no symptoms whatsoever. These cracks occur predominantly in amalgam filled teeth and they are not necessarily related to the size of the filling. Unfortunately, amalgam fillings are a metal that expands and contracts in a different manner to natural tooth, so, over time, small cracks develop into larger cracks until ultimately, a large chunk of tooth fractures off. In other words, a crack in a tooth is a lot like a cracked windscreen. Over time, the crack gets bigger and bigger until there is complete failure.

It should make sense that a filling is held in by the remaining tooth structure. Unfortunately, many fillings are so large that they exceed half of the tooth in size. They are held in by glue or pins and are not strong enough to reinforce the remaining tooth. Ultimately, the small pieces of unsupported remaining tooth fracture off leaving even less natural tooth to work with. In this case, we are faced with a giant filling that will be a compromise to the tooth it is in and the teeth either side, or, we can restore the tooth with complete coverage called a crown.

For more information on Crown and Bridge please (click here).

Symptoms of a cracked tooth

A large number of our patients only know about a cracked tooth when a big chunk snaps off in their mouth. Fortunately, 95% of the time, these teeth can be filled or crowned at this time. Some patients will have symptoms that a tooth is about to crack. This symptom is a sharp pain on biting that goes almost immediately. It may go unnoticed for a number of chews and then “whammo” another sharp pain. Unfortunately, these cracks are often more serious as they are more extensively within the tooth. The treatment in this case is a restoration that holds the whole tooth together. As above, this is by provision of a crown.