Why You Shouldn't Ignore That Cracked Tooth

Shooting pain and sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks are telltale signs of a cracked tooth. Even if you can’t see the crack, it’s there causing pain and wreaking havoc with your nerve endings. It won’t heal itself like a broken bone. If you leave it untreated, it’s only going to get worse. Early treatment is your best chance of saving the tooth.

At Charlotte Root Canal Center, our expert endodontist Ramesh K. Sunar, DMD, can evaluate the state of your cracked tooth and save it whenever possible. You can trust him and our team to offer you the most compassionate care with the most advanced technology. The first step is making an appointment to get your cracked tooth checked, because ignoring it can lead to more pain down the road.

How a crack in your tooth causes pain

Your tooth is made up of two layers. First, there’s the enamel, the top white layer that gives your teeth their pearly white appearance. Under the enamel is the dentin, a hard yellow layer that protects the insides — the pulp.

The pulp is where all the nerves and blood vessels live. When you damage or crack those protective outer layers of your teeth, the pulp becomes irritated and painful. 

Can a cracked tooth be saved?

In many cases. Dr. Sunar can save your cracked tooth. It depends a lot on where the crack is, how extensive it is, and what kind it is.

Dr. Sunar can often save teeth with these kinds of cracks:

Craze lines

These are very shallow and generally don’t need any treatment at all. They only affect the enamel and can barely be seen. This is the only type of crack you can ignore.

Fractured cusp

This happens when you have a very large filling that eventually breaks from years of repeated pressure. Dr. Sunar determines whether your filling needs to be replaced or if a crown is a better solution. Either way, he can generally save your tooth. 

Above-the-gumline cracks

Vertical cracks that don’t go below your gumline can usually be saved. Dr. Sunar can treat this type of crack with an implant, a crown, or even a root canal, allowing you to keep your natural tooth.

If you have a below-the-gumline crack or one that extends below your gums, there’s little chance of saving that tooth. Also known as a split crack, it means the tooth is fully separated into two sections. 

This is the reason Dr. Sunar urges his patients to take cracked teeth seriously. If you come to him before the crack extends below the gumline, he can usually rescue it. But once it dips below the gums, there’s nothing to do but extract it and replace it with a dental implant.

A vertical root fracture is technically not a crack in your tooth, but in the root. It starts way below the surface where you can’t see it. You may not even notice it until infection sets in. That’s often the first and only symptom patients report. Although there are some cases where treatments may work, a tooth with a vertical root fracture is often lost.

Saving a cracked tooth

For cracked teeth that are candidates for salvation, Dr. Sunar determines the right treatment for the type and severity of the crack.


If your tooth has a very shallow crack, Dr. Sunar may opt to bond it with plastic resin. Not only does this seal the crack, it restores the look of your tooth and allows you to chew normally. 


True to their name, crowns top off your tooth with a cap. You get a temporary crown while the lab customizes your permanent one. When it’s ready, Dr. Sunar cements it over your cracked tooth to keep it from getting worse. 

Root canal

When a crack has reached the pulp inside your tooth, your best option is a root canal. Scarier sounding than it really is, a root canal is no more painful than a filling. Dr. Sunar makes a small hole in the top of your cracked tooth and cleans out any decayed and infected material, rinses it clean, fills it, then tops it with a crown. 


The most extreme cases may require an extraction. Though not desirable, it’s much better than letting an infected or decayed tooth stay in place and cause further damage to your teeth, gums, and jawbone. Dr. Sunar then can replace the missing tooth with a dental implant that looks and functions just like your real tooth.

Although cracked teeth are unpredictable and may continue to spread and extend even after treatment, Dr. Sunar, one of the most skilled and experienced endodontists in Charlotte, offers you the best possible options. Call us today to schedule an appointment or book one online.

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