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Can a Cracked Tooth Be Saved with a Root Canal and Crown?

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A woman suffering from toothache holds her left check with her left hand.

A cracked tooth can be a painful and scary experience, and you may wonder if a crack is the end of that particular tooth. Fortunately, your dentist may be able to perform a root canal followed by a crown that can save your cracked tooth.

If you think you have a cracked tooth, contact your dentist immediately. We can examine your tooth and determine if it can be saved, possibly preventing unnecessary pain further down the road.

How Do Teeth Crack?

Your teeth are strong. Very strong, in fact. Your tooth enamel is densely packed with minerals and the hardest substance in your body, including bone. But even enamel can crack, especially if you haven’t been taking care of it with daily hygiene. Enamel can also weaken as you age, so older people may be more at risk of cracked teeth.

Many times it’s obvious when a tooth cracks. It can happen when you bite down too hard on a piece of food or if you’re hit in the mouth. But it could also occur after excessive grinding as you’ve worn down the enamel over time. A cracked tooth can be surprisingly subtle and you may not notice it right away.

Signs you may have a cracked tooth include:

  • Tooth pain, especially when eating
  • Sensitivity to sweetness or temperatures
  • Swollen gums
  • Pain that comes and goes
  • General mouth discomfort

A crack isn’t always visible, so your dentist can examine the area and look for even the smallest of cracks that may be causing big problems.

The Dangers of Cracked Teeth

Cracked teeth can come in all shapes and sizes. No matter how they occur, they can pose serious risk to your oral health. One of the main dangers involved with cracked teeth is the risk of infection. When a tooth is cracked, the enamel that serves as a barrier for bacteria is compromised, making it much easier for bacteria to enter the tooth and cause decay.

If left untreated, this decay can reach the core of the tooth and lead to a painful abscess.

Another risk with cracked teeth is the potential for the crack to spread. If the crack reaches deep into the tooth, it can weaken the overall structure and lead to a much more serious issue: a split tooth. When a tooth is split, it’s harder to save. A dentist may be able to preserve half of it by capping it with a crown. Otherwise, the tooth must be extracted.

Even if a cracked tooth isn’t causing immediate pain and discomfort, it’s still important to have it examined. Small cracks can often be covered by a dental filling or bonding, while more severe cracks may require a crown or root canal.

The Benefits of Root Canals & Crowns

Saving a cracked tooth with a root canal and crown has many advantages.

The Root Canal

A root canal is a dental procedure that removes infected or dead tissue from inside a tooth and seals it off to prevent further damage. This procedure is typically done when the tooth’s pulp becomes infected, such as when bacteria enter through a cracked tooth.

The pulp is the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves. When it’s damaged, it can cause serious pain and other problems if left untreated.

To begin the procedure, your dentist numbs the affected tooth with local anesthesia to help you remain comfortable throughout the treatment. Then, they create a small hole in the tooth and use specialized tools to remove the damaged pulp and clean out the tooth’s roots.

Once the tooth is clean, they fill it with a material to help maintain its structure and then place a temporary filling until you can receive a permanent one.

By removing the damaged tissue and sealing off the tooth, the procedure can help prevent the spread of infection and protect your other teeth from damage.

Dental Crowns

Some smaller root canals may only need a filling, but if your tooth is severely cracked, a dental crown can help restore functionality and appearance.

A dental crown is a cap-like structure made of porcelain, metal, or a combination of both that’s placed over a damaged tooth to restore its shape, size, and strength. It can also help you chew or speak comfortably.

The procedure to get crowns is straightforward but does require some preparation. To start, your dentist makes an impression of your tooth that needs to be crowned. This impression is used to create a mold for your custom-fitted crown. Your dentist will then numb the area around the tooth and file it down to make room for the crown.

Once the permanent crown is ready, it is placed over the prepared tooth and secured using dental cement. After placing the crown, your dentist examines the fit, shape, and colour and checks that your bite is aligned correctly.

A crown can last 10 years or longer, subject to good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups. To help your crown last, brush and floss twice daily and visit your dentist every 6 months.

A woman in a dentist's office smiling and shaking hands with her dentist while a dental assistant is working in the background.

Bring Back Your Smile

A cracked tooth can be scary, but it can also be saved with timely intervention. If you have a cracked tooth, let our team at Belman Dental Centre know immediately. We can examine the damage and, if a root canal and crown are necessary, we can walk you through the procedures so you feel comfortable going forward.

Don’t wait, request your appointment today!

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