In today’s fast-paced world, our dental health often takes a backseat. However, overlooking certain signs can lead to severe oral complications, one of the most common yet underestimated being a cracked tooth. A minor inconvenience at first glance, a cracked tooth can escalate into a major dental issue if not promptly addressed. The symptoms of this dental ailment can range from subtle to conspicuous, often leaving individuals puzzled about their oral health’s actual state. As a result, understanding and recognising cracked tooth symptoms becomes paramount. With this knowledge, you can act swiftly, ensuring a healthy smile and potentially saving on costly treatments. This article delves deep into the tell-tale signs of a cracked tooth, arming you with the information needed to keep your dental health in top-notch condition. Your smile deserves attention; let’s ensure it gets the care it merits.

Understanding the Anatomy of a Tooth

Every tooth in our mouth is a marvel of natural engineering, meticulously crafted to perform its chewing functions while contributing to our oral aesthetics.

1. Enamel: The Outer Shield

The enamel serves as our teeth’s first line of defence, the hardest substance in the human body. This protective outer layer shields the sensitive inner structures from external threats, yet despite its strength, it remains vulnerable to cracks, decay, and wear.

2. Dentin: The Middle Messenger

Positioned just beneath the enamel is the dentin. This yellowish, porous layer is less dense than tooth enamel but plays a pivotal role in transmitting nerve signals. When exposed due to cracks or cavities, it’s often the culprit behind sensations of pain or temperature sensitivity.

3. Pulp: The Inner Lifeline

At the heart of each tooth lies the pulp, soft tissue of nerves and blood vessels. Any damage reaching this vital region, like deep cracks or decay, can result in significant discomfort and may require prompt dental intervention.

Grasping this layered architecture helps demystify the symptoms and treatments associated with dental health, ensuring we give our teeth the care they deserve.

Types of Tooth Cracks

Visit cracks might seem straightforward at first, but in reality, a spectrum of cracks exists, each with its unique characteristics and implications for oral health.

1. Craze Lines: Surface Spectres

These are tiny, superficial cracks on the tooth’s surface. They’re mainly cosmetic concerns and usually don’t cause pain. Most adults have them, even if they’re not immediately noticeable.

2. Fractured Cusp: The Filling Fallout

A fractured cusp can break off or cause discomfort, often occurring near dental filling, especially while chewing. Although it doesn’t usually affect the pulp, it might necessitate restoration or protection. Find further information

3. Cracked Tooth: The Root Risk

This type of crack runs vertically from the chewing surface towards the root. Left untreated, it can worsen and lead to more severe dental issues, sometimes even reaching the pulp and causing pain.

4. Split Tooth: Total Tear

When a cracked tooth isn’t addressed, it can split the tooth into distinct segments. This is often painful and might result in losing part or all of the affected tooth.

5. Vertical Root Fracture: Hidden Harm

Starting at the root and moving upward, this tooth fracture is often undetected until the surrounding bone and gum line become infected. It’s challenging to spot vertical root fractures, but they require immediate attention.

Recognising these cracks and fractured tooth types is essential for timely treatment and intervention, ensuring oral health remains uncompromised.


Key Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth

A cracked tooth syndrome can present itself in various ways, often dependent on the type and severity of the crack. Recognising these symptoms is the first step towards appropriate treatment. Here are the primary indicators that you might be dealing with a cracked tooth:

1. Pain When Chewing:

One of the most common symptoms, pain when biting down or chewing, is a telltale sign. The act of biting can cause the crack to open, irritating the inner soft tissues of the tooth.

2. Sensitivity to Hot and Cold:

Sudden sharp pain when consuming hot or cold foods or drinks often indicates a crack exposed to the dentin or reached the pulp.

3. Swollen Gum Around One Tooth:

If you notice localised swelling around a particular tooth, it could be due to a crack that’s led to an infection or abscess in the surrounding gum tissue.

4. Discoloration:

A tooth that starts to change colour, typically becoming darker, might signal internal damage from a crack.

5. Feeling a Rough Edge:

Running your tongue along your teeth and encountering a rough or jagged edge can directly indicate a fracture.

6. Sudden Sharp Pain:

A sharp, fleeting pain that seems to come and go can be due to a crack that intermittently irritates the pulp inside the tooth.

7. Pain that Fades Away:

Sometimes, the pain isn’t persistent. It may come suddenly with a trigger (like cold water) and then fade away, making it harder to pinpoint.

These symptoms are important to recognise, as early detection can prevent further complications, alleviate pain, and potentially save the affected tooth. Always consult a dental professional if you suspect a crack to ensure timely and effective treatment.

How are Cracked Teeth Diagnosed?


Diagnosing a cracked tooth can sometimes be challenging due to the varying nature and location of cracks. However, dental professionals employ a combination of methods for cracked tooth diagnosis:

1. Visual Examination:

Dentists use a magnifying lens to closely inspect each tooth, searching for visible cracks or fractures. Bright light sources or dental dye might also be applied to highlight any cracks.

2. Bite Down Tests:

Patients may be asked to bite down on a special instrument. This action can help the dentist identify the problematic tooth, as the crack may open upon biting and cause discomfort.

3. Dental X-rays:

While X-rays don’t always show cracks, especially minor ones, they can be instrumental in revealing problems in the tooth’s inner structure or determining if the pulp is affected.

4. Transillumination:

By shining a light through the tooth, dentists can observe how it passes through, revealing disturbances in its structure.

Prompt and accurate diagnosis is essential for devising the right treatment plan and ensuring the long-term health of the affected tooth.

Treatment Options and Prevention

Depending on their severity and location cracked teeth require different treatment approaches. Here’s a breakdown of the treatment for a cracked tooth:

Treatment Options:

  1. Dental Bonding: A dentist might use a resin composite material that matches the tooth’s colour for minor cracks. This material bonds with the tooth, sealing the crack and restoring its appearance and function.
  2. Crowns: For deeper cracks, a dental crown, a protective cap placed over the damaged tooth, might be the recommended solution. It provides strength and prevents the crack from worsening.
  3. Root Canal Treatment: If a crack has extended into the pulp of the affected tooth, a root canal may be necessary. This procedure involves removing the damaged pulp, cleaning the canal, and sealing it. Often, a crown is placed afterwards for protection.
  4. Tooth Extraction: An extraction might be the only viable option in cases where the tooth is severely cracked or the structure is compromised. A dental implant, bridge, or partial denture can replace the extracted tooth.


  1. Avoid Hard Foods: Biting on hard foods like ice, hard candy, or bones can lead to cracks. Opt for softer food alternatives when possible.
  2. Wear Mouthguards: If you’re involved in contact sports or activities with a risk of facial injury, wearing a mouthguard can prevent traumatic dental injuries.
  3. Regular Dental Check-ups: Routine dental visits help detect and treat cracks or any dental issues early.
  4. Avoid Teeth Grinding: Consider a night guard if you grind your teeth at night. Continuous grinding can cause cracks or worsen existing ones.

Understanding your dental history and treatment options and incorporating preventative measures for your natural tooth can significantly reduce the risk and repercussions of cracked teeth.


Your smile isn’t just about aesthetics; it reflects your overall health and well-being. At Amity Dental Centre, we are committed to ensuring that every smile is radiant, healthy, and free from discomfort. If you believe you have a cracked tooth or simply wish to take proactive steps towards better oral health, don’t hesitate.

Take charge of your dental health today. Reach out to Amity Dental Centre in Albany at (08) 9930 2083. Your smile deserves the best care; we’re here to provide it.


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