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2727 Hamburg Street, Suite 3, Schenectady, NY 12303

Discovering Damaged Teeth: A Guide to Chipped, Cracked, and Fractured Enamel

June 10, 2024

Your teeth are designed to be tough. The outer layer of your teeth, known as the dental enamel, is even stronger than bone. However, despite its incredible strength, dental enamel can still get damaged by erosion, decay, or a traumatic injury.

While protective and durable, dental enamel cannot repair itself like other tissues in your body. This means that any damage to your teeth must be addressed by a professional to prevent further complications.

At the office of Dr. Wanda I. Saldaña, we regularly treat dental emergencies such as chipped, fractured, and cracked teeth. We provide skilled care for a wide range of issues that can cause damage to your teeth, including biting into hard foods or sustaining a direct blow to the face or mouth.

The type and extent of the damage will determine whether your tooth can be repaired with dental bonding, a filling, or a crown. In some cases, a root canal procedure may be necessary if the fracture exposes the vital tissue within the tooth.

Cracked and fractured teeth can be classified into five categories:

  • Craze Lines. These minor cracks are quite common in adults. They typically cause no discomfort and require no treatment.
  • Fractured Cusp. Breaking a part of the chewing surface or cusp of a tooth can lead to discomfort, often requiring a full coverage crown for repair. If the fracture affects the tooth's nerve, a root canal procedure may be needed.
  • Cracked Tooth. With a crack that extends from the chewing surface of your tooth towards the root, damage to the nerve is common. Ignoring this type of crack can result in losing your tooth entirely.
  • Split Tooth. In a split tooth, the crack divides the tooth into two segments. The position and extent of the crack will determine whether any portion of the tooth can be saved.
  • Vertical Root Fracture. This fracture begins in the root of the tooth and extends up towards the chewing surface. Unfortunately, most teeth with a vertical root fracture require extraction.

If you ever chip, crack, or fracture your tooth, don't hesitate to contact our office for timely evaluation and care. Our dedicated staff is here to help you maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.