Dr. Martin J. Rogers, DDS | Dr. Matthew C. Davis, DDS
Dr. Timothy J. Rogers, DDS, MS | Dr. Paulina Erdle, DMD
(847) 729-8400 | Fax (847) 729-8408
1775 Glenview Road #217, Glenview, IL 60025


Cracked Teeth

Cracked / Fractured Teeth

In addition to normal dental function, clenching and grinding can make our teeth more susceptible to cracking.  There are many different types of longitudinal fractures of the tooth with different sets of symptoms and prognoses.  Your endodontist will perform some simple tests to determine the type of tooth fracture you have and go over treatment options with you.

Listed below are categories of longitudinal fractures and their treatment recommendations:

Craze Lines

Craze lines are surface cracks of the enamel (the outer hard layer of tooth structure).  Most adult teeth have these craze lines and no treatment is necessary as they typically pose no problems.

Fractured Cusp

When a part of the chewing surface of the tooth, called a cusp, is weakened by a crack it will often break off or be removed by the dentist (or endodontist).  Many times a crown is all that is required to restore the tooth.  Depending on the depth of the fracture and the presenting symptoms, a root canal may be required prior to returning to your dentist for a crown.

Cracked Tooth

A “cracked tooth” can be difficult to diagnose.  The fracture line usually starts from the middle of the chewing surface of the tooth and extends inward toward the pulp (or “nerve” of the tooth).  Because this frequently involves injury to the pulp tissue, a root canal is often required before the tooth is restored with a crown.  If the crack is extensive the tooth may need to be extracted (removed).  Often it isn’t until the root canal is initiated that we know the true extent of certain types of cracks and whether the tooth can be saved.

If the tooth can be saved with root canal treatment, it is critical to return to your dentist to restore the tooth with a crown as soon as possible.  The purpose of the crown is to minimize the chances of further extent of the fracture.

Split Tooth

A split tooth is a cracked tooth that has extended to the point where there are separate segments (a.k.a., a complete fracture).  A split tooth cannot be saved and requires extraction.

Vertical Root Fracture

Vertical root fractures start in the root of the tooth and extend toward the chewing surface of the tooth.  They are usually painless and often discovered when the surrounding bone and gum become inflamed.  Treatment usually involves extraction of the tooth.  However, endodontic microsurgery can sometimes remove the portion of the root containing the fracture.