A cracked tooth may cause different kind of symptoms, including pain when chewing, sensitive to temperature extremes and spontaneous pain. Cracks can lead to infection of the pulp (nerve of the tooth), which can spread to the gum and bone surrounding the affected tooth.
Types of cracked teeth:
Fractured Cusp: When the pointed part of the chewing surface of the tooth (cusp) becomes weakened, a fracture may occur. The cusp may break off itself or may be removed by the dentist. A fractured cusp usually does not damage the pulp (nerve of the tooth), so the root canal treatment is rarely needed. The tooth will usually be restored by your dentist. In some occasions the depth of the fracture might be such that it damages the pulp leading to the need of root canal treatment.
Cracked Tooth: These kind of cracks extends from the chewing surface of the tooth vertically towards the root. Damage of the nerve of the tooth is common, therefore a root canal treatment is indicated in these cases. Sometimes the crack may extend below the gum line or it is not detected and treated on early stages resulting in the loss of the tooth.
Split Tooth: A split tooth is generally the result of a long term-untreated cracked tooth. It is identified by a crack with distinct segments that can be separated. In some cases, the cracked portion of the tooth is removed and the tooth is restored with a filling or a crown. However, if the crack extends below the bone, the crack could not be repaired and the tooth will need to be extracted.
Vertical Root Fracture: Vertical fractures are cracks that begin in the root tip and extend towards the chewing surface of the tooth. They usually show minimal signs and symptoms and may go unnoticed for some time. Treatment involves extraction of the tooth. Nevertheless, endodontic surgery may be indicated if a portion of the tooth can be saved by removal of the fractured root.