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How Serious is a Cracked Tooth? Dental Emergency 101
Emergency 101

How Serious is a Cracked Tooth? Dental Emergency 101

22 march 2022

Cracking a tooth can happen when you least expect it. Depending on whether the fracture is deep or how it’s located, it may also cause severe tooth pain. Smaller chips may not hurt at all but still attract unwanted attention.

How Serious is a Cracked Tooth? Dental Emergency 101

What Causes Cracked Tooth?

Most cracked teeth are the result of an injury, aging dental work, or biting down on something too hard. If you use your teeth to open packages or as tools, you could easily slip and hit them against one another, breaking one in the process. Other times, aging restorations like old fillings may be starting to leak. Biting down on them too hard could cause the surrounding tooth enamel to break off.

It’s also common to see chipped teeth from athletic injuries, automobile accidents, or simple slips and falls around the house. 

Cracked Teeth Usually Continue to Break

One of the biggest concerns of a cracked tooth is that the enamel typically continues to fracture. Since tooth enamel is the hardest portion of your tooth, any breaks will expose the weaker layers underneath. Continuing to bite down and apply pressure will cause the already weak structure to deteriorate further.


Repairing a broken tooth helps minimise the risk of additional breakage and severe damage before it starts.

Repairing Cracked or Broken Tooth and teeth

The best treatment for a broken tooth will depend on the extent of the fracture. Smaller breaks can be covered with bonding, to prevent them from spreading deeper or causing tooth structure to continue cracking. Especially in the front of your smile, where chips may attract unwanted attention or cause embarrassment. Bonding is similar to getting a white filling and it blends in with the surrounding tooth enamel.  

For moderate cracks, an inlay, onlay, or full-coverage crown is usually best. These restorations are larger than fillings, helping to evenly distribute biting pressure across the tooth so that further fractures are reduced. The restoration is made in a lab, so two visits are usually necessary.

If your crack extends down into the nerve of your tooth, the only option to preserve it is with a root canal. Otherwise, bacteria can compromise the nerve and cause an abscess. Pain is common when the crack reaches a nerve, because of the microscopic movements that occurs when you bite or chew on that tooth. After root canal treatment, we recommend placing a crown over the tooth since it is no longer vital (and more susceptible to fractures.)

Rest assured, each of these treatments can be completed comfortably. Thanks to modern numbing medications and techniques, repairing your cracked tooth can feel as routine as getting a small dental filling. Sedation is also available to help you feel like you’re sleeping through the procedure.

In Pain? Call Now

Our dentist will do everything possible to see you the same day. It’s our goal to get you out of pain as quickly as possible and preserve your tooth as long as we can. If you have a toothache or broken tooth, contact us straightaway to request an emergency appointment.

How Serious is a Cracked Tooth? Dental Emergency 101

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Dr Manish Shah

Dr. Manish Shah is a cosmetic dentist with a special interest in porcelain veneers, dental implants and Invisalign in Sydney. He is also a medical doctor with an expertise in sleep & craniofacial pain medicine practising at Smile Concepts.