Does a Cracked Tooth Need To Be Pulled?

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That sharp jolt when biting down – could be indicating a crack in your tooth.

Does a Cracked Tooth Need To Be Pulled?

Does a Cracked Tooth Need To Be Pulled? Not necessarily, depending on the type and severity of the crack /fracture. Read on…

What Causes a Cracked Tooth?

Tooth cracks may result from biting down on hard things, clenching during sleep, or an uneven bite. Large fillings, injuries, and sudden shifts in temperature also increase the risk of tooth cracks.

Chewing on hard objects such as popcorn kernels, hard candies, pencils, and rice cubes may put excessive pressure on teeth, which eventually results in small fractures.

An uneven bite can lead to unequal pressure distribution, increasing the risk of developing a crack. In addition, sudden temperature changes, like switching between hot and cold foods, can cause teeth to expand and contract, potentially resulting in cracks.

Teeth grow less durable and more brittle with age, increasing the possibility of tooth breaking or cracking.

Types of tooth cracks

There are four different types of tooth cracks

  1. Craze Lines are small cracks confined to the tooth enamel. They don’t cause pain but are a cause of aesthetic concern. 
  2. The cracked cusp goes from the chewing surface to the gumline. It doesn’t reach the pulp and causes mild pain on biting down.
  3. A split tooth is a major crack that separates the tooth, all the way from the top below the gum line, frequently. It causes excruciating pain, swelling, and sensitivity to heat and cold.
  4. Vertical root fractures- While less common, vertical root fractures may result in tooth loss.

Symptoms of a cracked tooth

Based on the extent and location of the crack, cracked teeth can present with varying signs.

Tooth Root Fracture

Sharp pain, increased sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet meals and drinks, discomfort, swelling, and visible cracks on the surface of the tooth are common symptoms.

If you’re concerned that you might have a cracked tooth, you must go in to see a dentist because timely diagnosis and care can save your tooth from further damage.

Treatment Options for Cracked Teeth

Depending on the type and severity of the crack, your dentist will give you treatment options to best restore the look and function of the affected tooth.

  • Dental bonding: It’s a good option to repair small cracks, especially craze lines that remain within the enamel.  A tooth-colored filling material is applied and shaped to completely conceal the fracture and preserve the tooth’s structure, 
  • Dental crowns: Dental crowns are a good option for deeper cracks or cracks that affect the overall tooth structure.  A crown is a custom-made cover that fits the whole tooth and offers improved stability, strength, and appearance.
  • Root canal therapy: If the crack reaches the pulp,  the nerves, and blood vessels are exposed making root canal therapy necessary. This procedure removes the infected pulp, followed by clearing and sealing the inside space to prevent further infection. A crown is often placed after a rootcanal treatment, for additional protection. 
  • Tooth extraction:  In cases where the damage is extensive and beyond repair (extensive caries, vertical root fracture, crack extending up to the root),  extraction is the only option left. 

Do Cracked Teeth Always Need to be Pulled?

The answer to the much-dreaded question-” Does every cracked tooth need to be pulled out”?  thankfully, is a resounding no!

When possible, modern dentistry provides a variety of dental treatments to save damaged teeth. The right and best treatment option for your cracked tooth will depend on several factors, including the type and extent of the crack, your symptoms, and the overall health of the tooth. 

Factors to consider before pulling a cracked tooth

Here’s what you need to know about cracked teeth and all the ifs, why, and when you need to know about being extracted. 

Before considering extraction, your dentist is going to carefully consider these factors:

Location and extent of crack: Cracks extending deeper into the tooth or reaching the pulp require more extensive treatment, but do not necessarily need to be extracted. Small, hairline cracks in the enamel (craze lines) typically don’t require extraction.

Cracked Teeth Root

Symptoms: Sensitivity, pain, or swelling might indicate the need for medication, but not necessarily extraction.

Overall condition of the affected tooth: If the affected tooth is already severely damaged, grossly decayed, or has large fillings, it might be beyond repair.

What other treatment options are available for cracked teeth, other than tooth extraction?

Depending on the case, dentists might be able to repair or restore a cracked tooth through different treatments, such as Root canal therapy, Dental bonding, and Dental crowns.


If you suspect you might have a cracked tooth, schedule an appointment right away. Early detection allows for timely and less intrusive treatment options. Neglecting the issue can make things worse, by increasing damage and infection, necessitating extraction.

The most effective approach and accurate crack assessment can only be provided by a dental professional. You can maintain a healthy smile and save your teeth with the help of modern techniques and preventive care.

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