What Should You Do When You Suspect a Cracked Tooth?

What Should You Do When You Suspect a Cracked Tooth?

Anyone can suffer a cracked tooth at almost any time. It might occur after falling down and hitting your jaw. It might occur after biting down with too much force on a hard piece of food. It might even happen after drinking something cold immediately after eating hot food.

So what should you do if you suspect that one of your teeth is cracked?

How Do You Know If a Tooth Is Cracked?

Cracked teeth may present a number of different symptoms. How the crack is formed, the extent of the crack, and other factors can all make a difference in what symptoms you feel and how you feel those symptoms.

These are some of the most common:

The “cracking” experience.

If you crack the tooth by biting down on something hard or by experiencing blunt force trauma, you may feel the actual experience of the tooth cracking. That could mean experiencing a sudden influx of pain and hearing a cracking noise. However, it’s also important to realize that teeth can crack gradually over time, so you can develop cracks in your teeth without even noticing.


After the tooth is cracked, you may feel sharp pain. This could be a dull, radiating pain on a constant basis, or a sharper, more acute type of pain whenever you bite down on that tooth. You could experience pain in waves or experience the pain at a steady level.


You may also experience the feeling of pressure, as the cracked tooth and the area surrounding it experience inflammation. This sensory experience almost feels like someone is squeezing your tooth or gums.

General discomfort.

Some people who have cracked teeth don’t experience any pain, specific pressure, or experiences when the tooth is cracking. Instead, they just have a vague feeling of general discomfort that may increase or lessen in intensity throughout the day.

There are a couple of additional things to note here. First, it’s entirely possible to have a cracked tooth while experiencing no symptoms. You don’t hear or feel the tooth crack, you don’t experience any pain, and your body doesn’t give you any specific signals that something is wrong in your mouth; the cracks are only detectable with a professional examination.

Second, these symptoms vary in intensity and timing. If you have a cracked tooth, you might feel intense pain one moment, then nothing the next. You can have a few days where you feel pain and pressure, then a few days where you feel almost nothing.

Treatment Options

So what are the treatment options for a cracked tooth?

That all depends on the extent of the crack, the placement of the tooth, the condition of the tooth, and other oral health variables.

No treatment.

A cracked tooth doesn’t necessarily require treatment. If the crack is very small and superficial, and it doesn’t cause you any noticeable pain, your dentist may make the decision not to treat the tooth. If this is the case, your dentist will likely keep an eye on the tooth in the future to make sure the cracks don’t get any worse.

Topical repairs.

In some cases, your dentist may be able to apply a topical bonding agent to repair the cracked tooth. If only a small piece of the tooth enamel has been broken or damaged, it can often be fixed in a single visit.

A root canal.

If the crack is deep, but the tooth is salvageable, you may be a good candidate for a root canal. This is a significant procedure that usually takes a couple of hours; after it’s done, you’ll be fitted with a crown.

Endodontic surgery.

If the tooth has sustained more serious damage, but it’s still possible to save, you may need to go through endodontic surgery.

Extraction and dental implants.

In some cases, the best scenario will be extracting the tooth. If this is the case, you may be a good candidate for dental implants. According to ClearChoice, dental implants can function almost identically to your natural teeth; they look and feel just like your real teeth, and you’ll take care of them like your real teeth.

Immediate Steps to Take

If you suspect that you have a cracked tooth, these are the most important steps to take immediately:

Avoid further injuring the tooth.

If you’re not careful, you could end up making your cracked tooth worse, setting you up for more intensive procedures and costlier care. It’s important to avoid further injuring the tooth by avoiding physical activities, eating soft foods, and avoiding foods with extreme temperatures.

Rely on OTC pain relievers.

If you’re experiencing immediate pain and your dentist can’t see you right away, use over the counter (OTC) pain relievers to help alleviate some of your symptoms. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to avoid overdosing.

Rinse your mouth with warm water.

Rinsing your mouth with warm water can help relieve some discomfort and keep your mouth clean at the same time. It’s a good strategy for reducing the possibility of infection and providing some short-term relief.

Talk to your dentist.

As soon as you notice that a tooth maybe cracked, it’s important to talk to your dentist. Call the dentist’s office, explain your symptoms, and ask if they can see you. Depending on the nature of your symptoms, they may recommend coming into the office as soon as possible or waiting for your next scheduled appointment.

Consider emergency treatment.

If the pain is extreme or if the tooth is cracked badly, you may need to find emergency treatment. This could mean seeing a specialist other than your regular dentist.

A cracked tooth is far from a death sentence. In fact, some of your teeth might be cracked right now without your knowledge or awareness. That said, if you’re experiencing mouth pain or if you have another reason to suspect that one of your teeth is cracked, it’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible.