Do You Have a Cracked Molar?

Women with Cracked tooth.

Blog Highlights

  • Molars are especially prone to cracks and fractures
  • A cracked molar can be extremely painful or it may result in little to no pain
  • If your dentist determines that the crack is serious, you will need to get treatment

Molars are especially prone to cracks and fractures due to their function and position in our mouths. Molars endure the greatest amount of pressure when we are chewing or biting. They can crack for any number of reasons, but the most common causes are biting into hard candy and ice, or as a result of grinding your teeth. If you suspect that one of your teeth might be cracked, you should make an appointment to see your dentist immediately.

A cracked molar can be extremely painful or it may result in little to no pain except when biting into food. To lessen any pain you may have, you should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth that is affected and stay away from hot and cold liquids. If you can, limit the amount of chewing and biting you do until you see your dentist. Excessive pressure on the molar can increase the size of the crack.

If your dentist determines that the crack is serious, you will need to get treatment. A serious crack is one that has cut through the enamel and is affecting the tissues underneath or within the tooth, such as soft tissues and nerves. In these cases, there are three options. Filling material and a crown may be applied to the tooth to repair the crack. If too much of the soft tissue has been damaged, then a root canal may be necessary to save the whole tooth. Finally, if the root of the tooth has been ruined, it is unlikely that the tooth can be saved and tooth extraction will be necessary.

If the crack is superficial, it will likely not require extensive treatment. Small, surface cracks are common in adults and often aren't cause for alarm. If you don't have any pain, but the sight of the crack is bothering you, you can ask your dentist to polish it, which can reduce its visibility.

When you can, take preventative measures, avoid biting into hard foods and if you know that you grind your teeth, consider investing in a mouth guard.