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Cracked Tooth - Prime Time Dentistry - Frisco, TX

Cracked Tooth: Is Your Smile Damaged?

What Causes a Cracked Tooth?

Cracked teeth are common, and a primary reason patients choose restorative, cosmetic, or endodontic treatment. It’s important to know that your dentist can’t prevent some cracks. Most people end up with a cracked tooth due to oral habits (like hard candy, pens, and using their mouths as bottle/package openers). And if that is the case, UPS may be hiring for a package handler. You’ll do great!

Regardless, root canal treatment or another type of cosmetic restoration will be needed to prevent infection, relieve pain, or save a fractured tooth from the need for an extraction. Before we move on to the types of cracked teeth, let’s take a closer look at the list of causes for a cracked tooth.

Causes of Cracked Teeth

Often you know that you’ve cracked a tooth, but sometimes a few days or weeks may go by before you begin to experience an issue. The most common causes of cracked teeth include:


Bruxism is a synonym for teeth grinding and clenching your jaw. Bruxism mainly occurs while you’re sleeping but can also happen during stress and anxiety. Bruxism places high pressure on your teeth, making them more likely to fracture over time.

Dental Restorations

Yes, we said it. Sometimes, a filling on a large cavity makes a tooth more susceptible to cracking. When you receive a filling, we remove a portion of your decayed tooth and replace it with a restorative material. Over time, that bonding material can become worn and eventually give way by fracturing or falling out completely.


Chewing or biting into hard foods is another common cause of cracked teeth. Other times, something hard, such as a small bone or stem, may hide in prepared foods. You should also note that biting or chewing non-food items, including fingernails, ice, and pens, can cause a tooth to crack.

Dental Trauma

Dental trauma may involve a fall, an accident, a blow to the mouth, or a sports injury. We strongly recommend wearing a mouthguard to prevent such injuries if you participate in sports.

Temperature Change

Like cookware or glassware, temperature changes within the mouth can cause teeth to crack. An example is if you were to eat a food that scalded your mouth, then drank ice water to cool it down.

Normal Wear

As we get older, our teeth are going to wear down. Age makes your teeth more vulnerable to cracking. Coincidentally, most patients we see with a broken tooth are over 40.

Cracked Tooth Types

Not every type of crack requires a root canal or emergency treatment. If you are in pain, call us immediately for emergency dental services. Depending on how close the damage is to the tooth’s pulp, we may be able to use cosmetic or restorative dentistry treatment to correct the affected tooth.

Craze Lines

We know you think we’re talking about your Uncle Tony, but we use these terms to identify shallow cracks in the tooth’s enamel layer. This type of cracked tooth happens primarily due to age/wear. Dental bonding is an effective and inexpensive treatment to correct craze lines.

Fractured Cusp

Fractured cusps are 50/50 when it comes to endodontic treatment. Depending on how close the fracture is to the pulp, you could require a root canal to save the natural tooth.

Cracked Tooth

Endodontic treatment is usually required for a cracked tooth, as these cracks start on the chewing surface and extend vertically to the root. You usually damage your pulp tissue with this type of crack, which can lead to infection or abscess with time. After root canal therapy, our Frisco team will restore the tooth structure to prevent the damage from extending below the gumline.

Split Tooth

A split tooth is a cracked tooth that received no attention. Some split teeth can be saved through endodontic treatment, while others require oral surgery and tooth extraction.

Vertical Root Fracture

A vertical root fracture originates in the tooth’s root and extends upwards. Because of location, this type of fracture may go unnoticed; vertical root fractures are often discovered only when the surrounding bone and gum become infected. These fractures typically require extraction, although in some cases, we can save the tooth by surgically removing the fractured root with a procedure called root resection.

To learn more about cracked teeth and endodontic treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment at our Frisco, TX, location for a consultation.