In the intricate world of dental care, a few questions arise as frequently as, “Does a cracked tooth need to be pulled?” This difficulty is with reason. A cracked tooth can usher in a wave of pain and discomfort and disrupt the harmony of one’s smile, leading to aesthetic apprehensions. Navigating this issue becomes even more complex when considering the myriad factors influencing such decisions.

It’s not merely about addressing the immediate pain or visible damage; it’s about understanding the broader implications on one’s oral health. Contrary to popular belief, the solution isn’t always as black and white as it appears.

The Anatomy of a Tooth



Understanding the tooth structure is essential to grasping why certain cracks might be more problematic. A tooth consists of several layers:


The outermost layer, tooth enamel, is the body’s hardest and most mineralised substance. We see the white part of the tooth above the gum line.


Beneath the enamel, this layer is more porous and sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.


This central part of the tooth contains the blood vessels and nerves.

The significance of the crack largely depends on which of these layers it affects.

Types of Cracked Teeth

Teeth can endure various injuries, ranging from tiny cracks to significant fractures.

Craze Lines:

These are superficial cracks only affecting the enamel. Most of the time, they don’t cause pain.

Fractured Cusp:

A fractured tooth might break off, often around a dental filling. While it might not hurt, it can cause a sharp pain when biting down.

Cracked Tooth Syndrome:

This refers to a crack from the chewing surface downwards that hasn’t yet reached the gum line. This type can cause discomfort, especially with sensitivity to hot and cold.

Split Tooth:

This is the result of an untreated cracked tooth. The crack has reached the gum line, splitting the tooth into two distinct segments.

Vertical Root Fracture:

This starts at the root and extends upward. Vertical root fractures often go unnoticed until gum disease sets in.

Factors Influencing Treatment Decisions

When it comes to cracked teeth, a one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t exist. Several factors come into play in determining the best treatment route for an individual. Delving deeper into these influencing factors, we realise that the intricacies of dental care are truly profound.

Depth and Location of the Crack:

does a cracked tooth need to be pulled xray albanyThe severity of the dental injury plays a pivotal role. A superficial crack on the tooth enamel might not necessitate any invasive procedure. In contrast, a crack that extends deep into the pulp or below the gum line can be more problematic. The location, whether on the chewing surface or closer to the root, also influences the treatment prescribed.

Symptoms Experienced:

Not all cracked teeth exhibit the same symptoms. Some might cause sharp pain, especially when biting or chewing, while others might lead to prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. Then, some cracks remain asymptomatic, only detected during regular dental check-ups. The nature and intensity of these symptoms offer insights into the crack’s progression and potential impact on overall tooth structure.

Overall Oral Health and Age:

An individual’s general oral health is a critical determinant. For instance, someone with advanced gum disease may have a compromised foundation for their teeth, making certain treatments less viable. On the other hand, younger patients might have more resilient teeth and gums, allowing for a broader range of treatment options. Age also affects the healing rate after any dental procedure.

Patient’s Personal Preferences:

While a dentist provides recommendations based on clinical evidence and expertise, patients’ personal preferences play an undeniable role. Some individuals might prefer more conservative approaches, wishing to retain as much of their natural tooth as possible. Others might opt for extraction and replacement with an artificial solution, such as an implant, seeking a more long-term fix.

Financial Considerations:

Dental care, especially complex procedures like root canal therapy or dental crown placement, can be expensive. Only some have access to comprehensive dental insurance. Therefore, financial constraints can heavily influence the decision-making process. Dental professionals must provide a clear cost breakdown and offer multiple treatment options catering to different budget levels.

Potential for Future Complications:

A dentist will evaluate the likelihood of the cracked tooth causing further complications if a crack seems progressive and might lead to more significant issues like a split tooth or vertical root fracture, a more proactive treatment approach might be advised.

Past Dental History:

A patient’s previous dental experiences, such as earlier instances of teeth grinding, dental fillings, root canal treatments, or any other procedures, offer vital clues. A tooth previously undergoing extensive dental work might be more vulnerable, thus influencing the treatment pathway.

In conclusion, the decision on how to treat a cracked tooth isn’t made in isolation. It’s a comprehensive assessment, considering multiple facets of the patient’s oral health, personal preferences, and practical constraints. This thorough evaluation ensures that the chosen treatment addresses the immediate concern and aligns with the patient’s broader oral health objectives.

Potential Treatment Options and Their Outcomes

does a cracked tooth need pulling albanyA cracked tooth, while common, presents a unique set of challenges in the dental realm. The treatment prescribed hinges on myriad factors, from the type of crack to its location and severity. Here, we’ll delve deep into the potential treatment avenues available, shedding light on what each entails and their subsequent outcomes.


Description: Not every crack necessitates immediate intervention. When the crack is minimal and does not compromise the tooth structure, a dentist might recommend a period of observation. Regular check-ups will monitor the crack’s progression, if any.

Outcome: This approach avoids unnecessary dental procedures. However, adhering to scheduled dental appointments is paramount to ensure the crack remains stable.

Bonding or Dental Filling:

Description: Dental bonding or filling proves effective for minor tooth cracks or chipped tooth scenarios. The dentist will fill the crack using a tooth-coloured composite resin, restoring the tooth’s natural appearance.

Outcome: The treated tooth regains its functionality and aesthetic appeal. With proper care, this fix can last several years, although it might require replacement or touch-ups in the future.

Root Canal Treatment:

Description: Root canal treatment becomes inevitable if a crack extends deep into the tooth’s pulp. This procedure involves removing the damaged pulp, cleaning and disinfecting the internal chambers, and filling and sealing the tooth.

Outcome: Root canal therapy can save a deeply cracked tooth from extraction. Post-treatment, the tooth might need a dental crown for added strength. With good oral hygiene, the longevity of a tooth post-root canal can be impressive.

Crown Placement:

Description: Dental crowns act as protective caps, enveloping a vulnerable tooth. Especially recommended after a root canal or for a fractured tooth with significant loss of structure, crowns are custom-made to match natural teeth’ shape, size, and colour.

Outcome: The dental crown fortifies the tooth, restoring its strength and functionality. With advancements in dental technology, crowns can seamlessly blend in, offering both durability and aesthetics. A well-maintained crown can last up to 15 years or even longer.

Tooth Extraction:

Description: In severe cases where the crack extends below the gum line or compromises the tooth’s foundation, extraction might be the only viable option. The dentist will remove the damaged tooth, ensuring minimal discomfort during the procedure.

Outcome: Post-extraction, the site will heal, but the missing tooth can lead to issues like misalignment of surrounding teeth or jawbone deterioration. Hence, it’s often recommended to consider tooth replacement options, like dental implants or bridges, to restore full oral functionality.

Desensitising Treatments:

does a cracked tooth need to be pulled procedure albanyDescription: Desensitising treatments can relieve cracks, leading to heightened sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. These might include the application of fluoride gels or the prescription of desensitising toothpaste.

Outcome: These treatments aim to alleviate discomfort by blocking the pathways that transmit temperature sensations to the tooth’s nerve. However, this is a more symptomatic relief and might not address the root cause of the crack.


Description: Custom-made nightguards can be prescribed for individuals prone to teeth grinding, which can exacerbate or even cause tooth cracks. These devices, worn during sleep, cushion the teeth, preventing direct tooth-to-tooth contact.

Outcome: Nightguards are preventive, reducing the risk of further dental injuries and protecting vulnerable teeth from excessive pressure.

In the intricate world of dentistry, the question, “Does a cracked tooth need to be pulled?” sees no straightforward answer. Treatment decisions vary from the fabric of clinical expertise and patient-centric considerations. However, the overarching goal remains consistent: preserving the integrity of one’s natural teeth and ensuring optimal oral health.


Navigating the complexities of dental concerns, particularly when it’s a cracked tooth, demands expertise and personalised care. Every individual’s dental landscape is unique, as are the solutions to their challenges. Armed with the knowledge of potential treatments and their outcomes, it’s paramount to seek the guidance of trusted professionals who can provide clarity tailored to your situation.

If you’re grappling with dental dilemmas or simply seeking a trusted opinion, the team at Amity Dental Centre is at your service. Our seasoned professionals have carved a niche in offering comprehensive dental solutions, marrying clinical excellence with compassion.

Don’t leave your oral health to chance or let uncertainty loom. Contact Amity Dental Centre, Dentist Albany on (08) 9930 2083. Let us be your partners in ensuring a smile that’s not just beautiful but healthy, too. Your dental well-being is just a call away!


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