Types of Longitudinal Fractures
1. Craze Lines:
While craze lines are considered a fracture, they’re not considered a dental emergency and generally do not need treatment. That’s because these lines only affect the tooth enamel and do not cause pain. Teeth grinding, nail-biting, or changing temperatures in the mouth may cause these types of fractures. While these cracks should not cause concern, some adults seek out cosmetic fixes like teeth whitening.
2. Fractured Cusp:
Fractured cusps occur when a piece of a tooth’s chewing surface breaks off, typically near a filling. This type of fracture usually does affect your pulp or cause pain and typically can be repaired through a filling or crown.
According to a report in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research, fractured cusps are the most common type of longitudinal fracture. A number of conditions may cause them:
- Teeth weakened by restorations
- Large cavities
- Traumatic injuries
- Abnormal biting habits, such as teeth grinding
If you do have a fractured cusp and experience pain or sensitivity to cold fluids, reach out to your dental professional for immediate attention.
3. Cracked Tooth:
A cracked tooth is when a crack extends from the crown of the tooth toward the root, though the tooth is not split into pieces. This fracture is more extensive than a fractured cusp and, therefore, more likely to affect the nerve of the tooth. There are several possible causes for a cracked tooth, including:
- Teeth grinding
- Dental work that weakened the tooth
- Trauma to the tooth
Treatment will vary based on the location and extent of the crack, which your dentist may need to investigate. If the nerve of the tooth is affected, an endodontist might perform a root canal treatment. If the crack extends down below the gumline, the tooth may need to be extracted.
4. Split Tooth:
A split tooth is a complete fracture from the crown that extends below the gumline through the middle of the tooth. This is usually the result of an untreated cracked tooth, as the fracture extends over time, it can happen either suddenly or due to the long-term growth of the crack. The tooth may require extraction, but in some cases, an endodontist may save a portion of the tooth and complete a restoration to make the tooth functional.