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What To Do if You Have a Cracked Molar

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

When it comes to eating, your molars do a lot of work. So it’s no surprise that if one of them gets a crack, it’s a big deal. You need them. Here’s a look at cracked tooth symptoms and cracked tooth treatment if you’ve cracked one of your molars.

How Does it Happen

Cracks are a common occurrence for your molars because they are in the back and side of your mouth and absorb most of the force when you chew. Eating hard types of foods (like hard candy) and chewing on ice can lead to a cracked tooth that needs repair. Grinding your teeth can too. You may not know the exact moment when it happens. It isn’t always painful when it does. If you experience pain or sensitivity while chewing or eating or drinking hot or cold foods, you may have a crack. Please make an appointment with your dental professional to have it checked out.

Waiting For Your Appointment

Here’s what you should do until your dentist can see you.

  • If you’re in pain, make a note of where your pain is coming from
  • Avoid chewing on that side to keep the crack from worsening
  • Keep hot and cold liquids away from that area

Minor Cracks in The Tooth

Good news. If your dentist discovers your crack is a minor one that only affects your tooth's hardened outer layer, he or she may decide you don’t need anything done. These are referred to as craze lines, which are hairline fractures.

They’re superficial, and your dental professional may able to polish them away.

Treatment for Cracked Molar

There are times when you may not even know you have a cracked molar. Your dental professional may discover it at a routine appointment. Another reason why keeping up with routine check-ups is vital.

If the crack has gone beyond the enamel, treatment will be needed to prevent problems such as an infection or a deeper fracture. Treatment will be based on the severity of the crack. Your dentist may recommend a crown, root canal, or tooth extraction. If your dentist thinks a crown is best, a filling material can repair the crack. If the inside of your tooth is damaged, your dentist may suggest a root canal to remove the damaged tissue. The root canal will be recommended if there’s an infection. Tooth extraction is the last case scenario if the tooth is too far gone and can’t be saved.

Molars are an important part of your dental structure. If you think you've cracked one of your molars, it’s wise to have a dental professional look at it. If it’s painful or sensitive to hot and or cold, the sooner you see your dentist, the better. A hairline fracture is a best-case scenario. Early treatment is optimal because it can mean the difference between a crown, a root canal, or an extraction. Practice good oral hygiene and keep up with your routine cleanings and check-ups to keep your teeth (including those hard-working molars) healthy.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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