​What Happens When You Crack a Tooth?

cracked toothCracked or chipped teeth often happen when you least expect it. Whether it’s due to falling, being hit in the face, or biting down on something hard, some people tend to worry that a chipped tooth can’t be fixed. Thankfully, modern dentistry has come a long way over the years and there are several ways a dentist can repair a chipped or broken tooth.

Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth

Oftentimes there will be no symptoms that your tooth has been chipped or cracked. If the tooth breaks off while you are eating food, there is also a possibility that you could swallow it without even realizing it. Other times, the crack may be microscopic and only an X-ray would be able to tell it’s present.

There are several symptoms that could indicate a cracked tooth:

  • Dental pain that has no obvious cause
  • Difficulty pinpointing the exact location of the dental pain
  • Warm/cold food sensitivity
  • Unexplained pain when eating
  • Swelling of the gums around the cracked tooth

How Do Chipped Teeth Happen?

Tooth enamel is one of the strongest tissues in the human body – yet teeth can easily be cracked due one of several reasons:

  • Slip and fall
  • Getting struck in the face
  • Tooth decay
  • Biting down on something hard like ice or candy

It doesn’t take much for teeth to get chipped if they suffer from tooth decay. Even biting down on something as soft as a bread sandwich can cause a decayed tooth to suddenly break or chip off.

Fortunately, your teeth are biodegradable and if you accidentally swallow a piece of chipped tooth, it will most likely pass right through your system. However, in some instances it might be best to seek the advice of a doctor if the chipped tooth doesn’t pass or you notice other health irregularities in the following hours and days.

What Can Happen Because of a Cracked Tooth?

Different people have different reactions to cracked teeth. For some it is merely a cosmetic issue and a quick trip to the dentist can make it look like it never happened. For others, a cracked tooth is a sign of tooth decay or disease and if left untreated could result in the loss of the tooth.

If the cracked tooth is severe enough, you can accidentally cut the inside of your mouth on the jagged edges. The remnants of the jagged tooth will brush up against your tongue or cheeks and bleeding is very possible. If the crack is left untreated it could allow bacteria to enter into the tooth and cause a painful infection.

At the first sign of a cracked tooth or dental pain, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a dentist. They can not only repair the cracked tooth, but recommend a treatment course that could save it from having to be extracted.

How a Dentist Can Repair a Crack

There are a wide variety of options available that can treat or fix a chipped or cracked tooth. These options vary in price as well as the amount of dental work that’s needed to be performed.


Dental bonding is most often used when the chip is purely cosmetic. It can last upwards of 10 years and general anesthesia is not required unless the bonding is being used for cavities.

The dentist will roughen up the tooth a bit and apply a conditioning liquid. Putty is then applied, molded, and smoothed. An ultraviolet light is then used to cure the composite. After the bonding has dried, it will be polished and shaped to match the look and color of the other teeth.


Veneers will cover the front of the chipped tooth. They are bonded to the front of the tooth in order to completely chance the appearance. Veneers can last upwards of 30 years if taken care of properly.

Getting veneers is a multi-stage process. Your teeth will need to be prepped and impressions will be taken. You will be given a temporary set of veneers to wear while the laboratory creates your permanent ones. At a later dental appointment, the dentist will apply the veneers by bonding them to the front of the tooth or teeth.


Crowns are another restorative treatment option. If your tooth is severely chipped, or you experience pain when drinking or eating, a crown is an ideal solution.

The crown is a cap that covers the broken tooth completely. It looks, feels, and works just like any other tooth in your mouth. The crown acts as a shield in that it protects you from losing the tooth. Crowns are intended to be permanent and are cemented directly onto the broken tooth.

Root Canal

Root canals are intended for cracks in teeth that extend into the dental pulp. Sometimes a crown is placed on the tooth after the root canal to prevent the crack from spreading further.

A root canal involves the dentist removed decayed tooth matter and removing the nerve of the tooth. Root canals often get a bad rap as something very painful – but if performed correctly, there is little to no pain. A root canal can ultimately save the tooth from having to be extracted.

Chipped or Cracked Teeth Repair in Chicago

If you have had a tooth crack or chip or you’re experiencing dental pain, schedule an appointment or give us a call at (312) 787-2131. At Water Tower Dental Care, we’re experts in fixing cracked or chipped teeth. We can help stop the pain and get your chipped teeth fixed so that they look perfectly normal again!