The Different Types of Tooth Cracks & Chips

When you should worry, and when you can chill

When someone experiences or notices a crack or chip in their tooth, they might feel instantly terrified and begin to pray that their tooth isn’t a lost cause.

Have you ever required a root canal treatment?

While any type of damage or trauma to a tooth should certainly be looked at by a professional, oftentimes, a crack may not be much of a threat to the tooth’s health. But on the other hand… a chip or fracture in the tooth might be severe enough to necessitate further intervention by our Scarborough endodontist.

Some dental cracks may not be so obvious, so if ever you experience symptoms such as irregular pain with chewing, pain with temperature change in a localized area or a jagged or sharp edge that you can feel with your tongue… get to a professional.

With that said, there are different types of cracks or chips that will require different treatments… or none at all! These include:

1. Craze lines

These are the tiniest cracks of all. These hairline cracks are usually nothing to worry about, as they are a part of the enamel layer and often stay the same size. Craze lines are very common, especially in adults, and can form as a result of normal daily chewing or due to a grinding/clenching habit.

2. A small chip

Very tiny chips are often no big deal… but they can be a cosmetic concern. This can easily be fixed with a cosmetic bonding treatment, or with porcelain veneers.

3. A crack or chip that extends into the dentin – or pulp

A more extensive crack or chip that extends further into the tooth is a cause for concern. These typically form as a result of hard trauma or injury to the tooth, or can be caused by a large filling. In rare cases, craze lines will expand to the point where they turn into a crack that requires intervention. Root canal (endodontic) therapy is required in many cases where a crack extends into the pulp, damaging it beyond the point of return.

While we don’t wish any cracks or chips on your teeth in the future, remember the warning signs and never shrug off an accident if you assume it too small to be anything bad. Always see your dentist or our Scarborough endodontist if your tooth takes a hit (big or small)!