Shoreline Family Dental Logo

Maria Hoekstra, D.D.S., F.A.G.D.
Jacqueline Anderson, D.D.S.
Thomas E. Anderson, D.D.S.


Our Office Hours are:

Monday: 8am-5pm
Tuesday: 8am-5pm
Wednesday: 8am-5pm
Thursday: 8am-5pm
Friday: 7am-1pm

Cracked Tooth Syndrome

When a cusp of a tooth cracks and begins flexing upon biting, it can cause sharp pain. This is called Cracked Tooth Syndrome. Sometimes the sharp pain will only occur occasionally when the cusp is bitten at just the right angle. Often cold, hot or sweets will also cause the sharp pain by seeping into the crack. If left untreated, the cusp will eventually fracture, causing the possible need for root canal therapy or even extraction. Often times the cracks are very fine and cannot be seen clinically or on an x-ray. So to determine cracked tooth syndrome, we have the patient bite on a dental bite stick on each cusp in a particular area until the cracked cusp is identified. As long as the tooth pain goes way immediately on release, it can be treated with a crown. However if the tooth pain lingers with a dull ache, then the nerve is dying and the tooth needs root canal therapy.

A fractured tooth will not improve and will eventually need to be treated. 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. This full crown is bonded over the entire tooth to seal all the small cracks and prevent bacterial leakage thus allowing the nerve to recover and stabilize.

Therefore, the sooner the crack can be treated, the more likely the tooth can be saved.

Symptoms of A Cracked Tooth

  • Pain when you bite down
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages or sweets
  • Discomfort when the tooth is exposed to air
  • Toothache for no apparent reason

Fractured Teeth

Craze lines

Most adults have craze lines and they cause little concern. They are tiny cracks that only affect the outer enamel of the tooth, are painless and may affect the cosmetic appearance of the tooth. These lines allow light to pass through them to light up the whole crown of the tooth. If there is a crack, light will not pass through.

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. 
Vertical Root Fracture

A vertical root fracture begins at the root and extends towards the chewing surface of the tooth.  Treatment may involve root surgery if a portion of the tooth can be saved extracted.