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What is a Root Crack?


Posted on 6/15/2024 by Sola Smile Co
Photo of cracked tooth that will be fixed atSola Smile Co. in Austin, TXHave you ever experienced a sharp, throbbing pain in your tooth that seems to come and go? This could be a sign of a root crack, also known as a tooth fracture. Root cracks are a serious dental problem that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. In this blog post, we will discuss what root cracks are, their causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

The Mystery of the Toothache


Imagine this: you're enjoying a delicious meal when suddenly, a sharp pain shoots through your tooth. It's unlike anything you've felt before, and it seems to come and go with no apparent cause. You might think it's just a temporary sensitivity, but what if it's something more serious?

This scenario could be a sign of a root crack, a hidden fracture that can cause significant pain and discomfort. Unlike a visible chip or break in the tooth's crown, root cracks are often hidden beneath the gum line, making them difficult to diagnose. This is why it's crucial to be aware of the symptoms and seek professional dental care if you suspect you might have a root crack.

Understanding Root Cracks: A Hidden Threat


Root cracks are essentially fractures that extend from the root of the tooth up towards the crown. These cracks can be caused by various factors, including:

Recognizing the Signs: When to Seek Help


•  Trauma: A blow to the face or jaw can cause a root crack, even if the tooth itself doesn't appear damaged.
•  Biting forces: Chewing on hard objects or grinding your teeth can put immense pressure on your teeth, leading to cracks.
•  Previous dental work: Large fillings or crowns can weaken the tooth structure and make it more susceptible to cracking.
•  Underlying dental problems: Untreated cavities or infections can weaken the tooth and increase the risk of cracking.


Know the Symptoms of a Root Crack


The symptoms of a root crack can vary depending on the severity and location of the crack. Some common signs include:
•  Sharp, throbbing pain that comes and goes: This pain may be triggered by biting, chewing, or temperature changes.
•  Sensitivity to hot and cold: The exposed dentin in the crack can be sensitive to temperature changes.
•  Swelling and tenderness in the gums: This can occur if the crack has extended into the root canal and infected the pulp.
•  A loose tooth: In severe cases, the tooth may become loose due to the compromised root structure.


If you experience any of these symptoms, it's essential to see a dentist as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for preventing further damage and saving your tooth.

Treatment Options: Restoring Your Smile


The treatment for a root crack will depend on the severity and location of the crack. In some cases, the crack may be small and require only monitoring. However, if the crack is more severe, treatment options may include:

Conclusion: Protecting Your Oral Health


•  Bonding or filling: For small cracks above the gum line, bonding or filling the crack can restore the tooth's structure and prevent further damage.
•  Crown: If the crack is larger or extends below the gum line, a crown may be necessary to protect the weakened tooth and restore its function.
•  Root canal treatment: If the crack has reached the pulp, root canal treatment may be required to remove the infected pulp and save the tooth.
•  Extraction: In severe cases where the tooth is beyond repair, extraction may be the only option.


Root cracks are a serious dental problem that should be addressed promptly. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options, you can take steps to protect your oral health and preserve your natural teeth. Remember, regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene practices are essential for maintaining a healthy smile and preventing dental problems.
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