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Will My Cracked Tooth Need a Crown?

Posted by AllSmiles

My top left tooth behind the canine has a hairline crack. I fell two days ago while doing some yardwork and landed on my left side. My face hit the ground first. My mouth didn’t bleed, but the left side of it is swollen. When I checked my teeth after the fall, they looked okay, but this morning I noticed one tooth was cracked. It feels a little tender whenever I put pressure on the tooth with my finger. How long can I delay getting it fixed? Will I need a crown? I am leaving for Miami in three days and will return in ten days. Thank you. Salman from San Diego


Thank you for contacting our office. It requires immediate attention whenever you experience trauma or impact on your mouth or teeth. Reasons to see a dentist include:

  • Your tooth may have internal damage even if you do not feel pain.
  • A break or crack can worsen without stabilizing the tooth.
  • Irritation can lead to inflammation and infection in the tooth pulp.

Will Your Cracked Tooth Need a Crown?

A dental crown for a molar tooth, possible treatment for a cracked tooth.
A cracked tooth may require a dental crown.

Whether your cracked tooth will need a crown depends on the extent and location of the crack and the internal condition of your tooth. A dentist must examine and x-ray your tooth to evaluate it and recommend treatment, which may include a dental crown.

What Is the Treatment for a Cracked Tooth?

Treatment for a cracked tooth depends on the location and extent of the crack. Each patient’s case is different, so after an exam and x-rays, a dentist will explain your treatment options.

Below are the types of tooth cracks and how a dentist may treat them:

  • Craze lines. Cracks that only affect the enamel are craze lines and may require no treatment. A skilled cosmetic dentist can blend composite that matches your tooth shade to hide a craze line.
  • Cracked tooth. A vertical crack that extends vertically from the tooth’s chewing surface toward the root may require root canal treatment. According to the American Association of Endodontists, if a tooth crack extends beyond the gumline, a dentist or endodontist (root canal specialist) must remove the tooth.
  • Fracture in the chewing surface. Cusps are the peaks in the chewing surface of a tooth. Depending on the extent of damage, a dentist may restore the tooth will a filling or dental crown.
  • Split tooth. When a tooth splits in half, a dentist or endodontist will determine whether they can save a portion of the tooth based on the length of the split.
  • Vertical tooth root fracture. Fractures that begin at the root tip and extend upward toward the tooth may require surgery from an endodontist (root canal specialist). Sometimes, the tooth requires removal.

What Are the Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth?

Although you may not notice a crack in your tooth after injury or impact, the symptoms may include:

  • Inconsistent pain
  • Pain when chewing food
  • Sudden pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold

We recommend scheduling an appointment with a dentist immediately for an exam and x-ray. A dentist can stabilize your tooth and recommend treatment based on the condition of your tooth and your travel plans.


Chandler, Arizona, dentist Dr. William Walden sponsors this post.

2425 S Stearman Dr.
Suite 111
Chandler, AZ 85286
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