A crack in a tooth may appear as a tiny hairline fracture, usually
running from the top to the bottom of the tooth. Sometimes these cracks are
invisible to the naked eye and often do not show up on X-rays. It may be hard
to tell which tooth hurts or whether the pain is coming from a top or bottom
Suspect a crack if:
You feel sharp pain when you bite down or
You can't eat certain foods or can only chew on one side of
Your tooth is very sensitive to hot or cold.
A cracked tooth may be caused by a mouth injury or loss of tooth
structure from a large area of decay (cavity) or filling. Chewing on hard
objects—such as nuts, hard candy, or foreign objects in food—or temperature
extremes, such as when you eat hot foods and then chew on ice cubes, can also
cause a cracked tooth. Other causes of a cracked tooth include teeth grinding
or uneven chewing pressures.
Deep cracks can cause inflammation, infection, or death of the tooth.
Prompt dental care may prevent these problems.
Primary Medical Reviewer
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.