Does a Cracked Tooth Need to be Pulled?

Cracked tooth

Exploring Treatment Options and Debunking Myths

Dealing with a cracked tooth can be a nerve-wracking experience. You may find yourself wondering, “Does a cracked tooth really need to be pulled?” Fear not! In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the world of cracked teeth, exploring treatment options, debunking myths, and providing you with valuable insights. So, let’s embark on this enlightening journey together and unravel the truth behind cracked teeth!

Understanding Cracked Teeth

A cracked tooth is a dental condition that occurs when there is a fracture or break in the tooth structure. It can range from minor surface cracks to more severe fractures that extend deep into the root. If you have a severe fracture, it’s crucial to seek immediate attention from an emergency dentist. It is essential to differentiate between a cracked tooth and a chipped tooth, as they have different implications for treatment.

Cracked teeth are more common than you might think. In fact, studies suggest that a significant percentage of the population has experienced some form of cracked tooth during their lifetime. The causes of cracked teeth can vary, but common factors include:

Biting down on hard objects 

Imagine that fateful encounter with an unpopped popcorn kernel or a rogue ice cube.

Trauma or injury to the face: Accidents happen, and a fall or impact to the face can result in a cracked tooth.

Grinding or clenching of teeth

The habit of grinding or clenching, known as bruxism, can exert excessive pressure on the teeth, making them more prone to cracks.

Uneven bite or misaligned teeth

Irregularities in tooth alignment or an abnormal bite can create stress points that lead to cracks.

Age-related wear and tear. As we age, our teeth naturally become more susceptible to cracks due to years of use and exposure to various forces.

Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth

Recognizing the signs of a cracked tooth is crucial in seeking timely dental care. Common symptoms include:

Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures

Ah, that jolt of pain when you sip a hot cup of coffee or indulge in an ice cream cone. It’s like your tooth has turned into a weather forecaster.

Sharp pain when biting down

Just as you sink your teeth into a delicious sandwich or a crispy apple, a sudden sharp pain reminds you that something’s not right.

Pain when eating or drinking

Enjoying your favorite foods and beverages becomes a challenge as each bite or sip triggers discomfort.

Swelling around the gums

In some cases, a cracked tooth can lead to inflammation and swelling around the affected area, indicating a more severe crack that may require immediate attention.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to see a dentist as soon as possible. Ignoring a cracked tooth can lead to further complications, including infection and even the loss of the tooth.

Treatment Options for Cracked Teeth

The treatment approach for a cracked tooth depends on several factors, including the severity and location of the crack. Contrary to popular belief, not all cracked teeth need to be pulled. Let’s debunk some myths and explore the treatment options available:

Myth busting: Do all cracked teeth need to be pulled?

There is a common misconception that any crack in a tooth automatically requires extraction. While tooth extraction may be necessary in severe cases where the crack extends below the gum line or into the root, many cracked teeth can be treated with alternative approaches.

Small cracks, big solutions: The potential for fillings

If the crack is small and does not extend to the root of the tooth, a filling may be a viable treatment option. The dentist will carefully assess the crack’s depth and determine if a filling can effectively restore the tooth’s structure and prevent further damage. A filling involves removing any decayed or damaged portions of the tooth and filling the space with durable material, such as composite resin or amalgam. This approach allows for the preservation of the natural tooth while providing strength and protection. Learn more about the types of dental fillings here.

The crown’s glory: Crowns for extensive cracks

For more extensive cracks that compromise the tooth’s integrity, a dental crown may be recommended. A crown is a custom-made cap that covers the entire visible portion of the tooth, providing strength, protection, and aesthetic improvement. The process involves reshaping the tooth, taking impressions, and placing a temporary crown while the permanent one is fabricated. Once ready, the permanent crown is cemented into place, restoring the tooth’s functionality and appearance.

Extraction as a last resort: Severely damaged or infected teeth

In cases where the crack is severe and extends into the root, or when the tooth is extensively damaged or infected these are signs for extraction. This ensures the removal of the compromised tooth to prevent further complications, such as infection spread or damage to adjacent teeth. Following extraction, replacement options like dental implants, bridges, or dentures can be considered to restore the missing tooth and maintain proper oral function.

Preventive Measures for Cracked Teeth

While accidents can happen, there are preventive measures you can take to minimize the risk of cracking a tooth:

Mouthguards for protection

If you engage in sports or activities that carry a risk of facial injury, wearing a mouthguard can provide a protective barrier for your teeth, reducing the likelihood of cracks or fractures.

Respect your teeth

Avoid using your teeth as tools to open packages or crack nuts. Remember, they are meant for chewing food, not as multi-purpose tools.

Skip the hard candies and ice

Chewing on hard objects, such as ice or hard candy, puts unnecessary stress on your teeth, increasing the chances of cracks. Opt for softer alternatives or let them dissolve in your mouth instead.

Mindful eating

Take care when consuming chewy or sticky foods like caramel. They can put undue strain on your teeth and potentially lead to cracks. Cut these foods into smaller, manageable pieces to minimize the risk.


In summary, not all cracked teeth need to be pulled. The appropriate treatment for a cracked tooth depends on factors such as the severity and location of the crack. While extraction may be necessary in certain cases, many cracked teeth can be effectively treated with fillings or crowns, preserving the natural tooth and restoring functionality. It is crucial to seek prompt dental care if you suspect a cracked tooth to prevent further complications.

Remember, prevention is key. By wearing mouthguards during physical activities, avoiding using your teeth as tools, and being mindful of the foods you consume, you can reduce the risk of experiencing a cracked tooth.

So, the next time you find yourself pondering the question, “Does a cracked tooth need to be pulled?” remember that modern dentistry offers various treatment options to address cracked teeth and preserve your smile. Consult with our Round Rock dentist at 512-651-3036 or Book an Appointment, we will assess your specific situation and recommend the most suitable course of action.

Take care of your teeth, prioritize regular dental check-ups, and maintain good oral hygiene practices. With the right care and timely treatment, you can keep your smile intact and enjoy a healthy, functional set of teeth for years to come.


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