The Difference Between a Cracked Tooth and Chipped Tooth

Cracked tooth

A cracked tooth is most common on teeth in the back of your mouth where the majority of chewing happens. Typically a cracked tooth will require more invasive treatment than a chipped tooth. If the crack extends beyond the surface of the tooth, we may suggest a root canal and then place a crown to cover the entire tooth. We will then monitor the restoration to see how the tooth responds to ensure the patient remains comfortable with the treatment.

Here is the most common treatment for a cracked tooth:

Least severe: the tooth will require a dental crown to cover and restore the damage.

Medium severity: if the crack has extended a little deeper into the tooth, we will often treat it by performing a root canal procedure, then placing a crown on the tooth to restore aesthetics and functionality.

Most severe: If the crack has extended deep into the tooth, we will likely have to perform a tooth extraction. This is the most extreme situation and we will always try our best to keep your natural teeth and repair the damage if possible. If an extraction is the best treatment plan, a dental implant can be used to replace your original tooth.

Chipped tooth

A chipped tooth occurs more frequently in the front teeth. Most of my patients who experience a chipped tooth are mainly concerned about aesthetics and functionality. Treatment for a chipped tooth is something that we can typically fix within one day. We will clean the site, then bond a tooth-colored filling to the area to restore the tooth aesthetically and functionally.

The tooth-colored filling material makes the restoration appear seamless! We can match the material to your teeth nearly perfectly so that when you smile, no one can even tell you had work done. As far as eating and strength of the restoration, it all depends on the extent of the damage and the position of the chip. After your restoration, it’s important to be more cautious about biting down on harder foods; while the restoration will be strong and functional, manmade materials are never as strong as natural teeth.

All in all, if you think you have a cracked or chipped tooth, we will work with you to find the best treatment plan to help relieve pain and restore your teeth both functionally and aesthetically!