Cracked Tooth

 

How Is A Crack Detected?

Cracks are very difficult to detect and are usually not visible on conventional radiographs.  Therefore, a combination of approaches is needed to detect and determine the extent of a crack. 

These may include:

  • Transillumination - shining a light through the tooth
  • Measuring the health of the gums around the tooth - this can be affected by a crack
  • CBCT Imaging (3D Scan) - This allows us to see much more detail than typical radiographs.
  • Root canal therapy - A microscope is used to examine inside the tooth during treatment.
  • Endodontic surgery - Direct observation is the only way to diagnose with 100% certainty

 

 Torabinejad and Walton, Endodontics: Principles and Practice 4th ed, Saunders/ Elsevier 2009

Torabinejad and Walton, Endodontics: Principles and Practice 4th ed, Saunders/ Elsevier 2009

What Is the Prognosis for a Cracked Tooth?

Not all cracks are equal and the prognosis for a cracked tooth varies significantly depending on the extent of the crack.  In general, if the crack is confined to the visible portion of the tooth, the prognosis is favorable because it can be sealed with a crown.  However, if the crack extends below the gums, the prognosis is questionable.  If the crack extends below the bone, and extends into the root, the prognosis is unfavorable.