Cracked Tooth Syndrome

Fractured Cusp

When a cusp becomes weakened, a fracture may result. A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp. This tooth will need to be restored with a full crown.

Cracked Tooth

This type of crack extends from the chewing surface of the tooth and vertically migrates towards the root. Damage to the pulp is common. A root canal treatment is usually necessary. A cracked tooth that is not treated will worsen, resulting in the loss of the tooth.

Split Tooth

A split tooth is usually the result of an untreated cracked tooth. It can be identified by a crack with distinct segments. The position and extent of the problem will dictate whether any portion of the tooth can be saved.

Cracked tooth syndrome is a very common problem that affects teeth that have large fillings in them. Decay and large fillings causes a weakening in the remaining tooth structure over time. A hairline fracture often develops at the bottom corner of the filling.

Grinding your teeth will cause massive increase in the stress and stain on your premolars and molars increasing the risk of this condition. Also, having worn down fillings or canines will increase your risk factors toward this condition.

The reason it hurts to bite when you have a cracked tooth is the fact that your tooth is flexing which microscopically stimulates the nerve in the tooth. These hairline cracks open and close which applies pressure on tubules that run down the nerve of the tooth causing fluid to push and pull on the tooth's nerve resulting in pain.


  • Sensitive to hot and cold
  • Pain upon release of biting pressure which may come and go when you release from biting because the crack will close quickly causing pain.


A fracture will probably not improve and will eventually need to be treated. Teeth do have a limited ability to heal themselves. Unfortunately, fractured teeth do not heal themselves like other bones in your body. The only real solution to hold the tooth together and to prevent the tooth from breaking is with a crown. A crown will allow chewing forces to move the whole tooth rather than splitting it apart.

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