Some forms of tooth fractures may lead to tooth loss while others only affect aesthetics of your smile. If you have a tooth fracture, it may be in any of these forms:

Craze Lines

These are minor cracks that usually occur as vertical lines on the teeth. They only affect the outer layer, the enamel, and may not even need dental treatment. They mostly appear due to physical stress such as a lifetime of chewing, teeth grinding, or using the teeth as tools. Most people who treat them only do so due to cosmetic reasons, especially since the lines stain easily. The treatment of choice is to have them polished.


You get a chip when a small portion of the tooth breaks away. Chips do not go deep too; they only involve the enamel, and, therefore, aren't painful and don't get worse with time. They are common with the front teeth, which are exposed to and are the first points of contact for physical impacts on the mouth.

You need to repair any chipped tooth, even if the damage is minor. This is necessary not only for cosmetic purposes, but also to protect inner tooth structures. Remember that it is the enamel that protects the sensitive layers of the tooth.


These extend into the dentin and may even affect the tooth's pulp and nerve. No piece of the tooth breaks away. You do need to treat a crack because the longer it remains untreated, the deeper and wider it will get. Treatment, which depends on the depth of the crack, may involve filling, crowning and a root canal or a combination of these treatment techniques.

Split Tooth

Just like the name suggests, a split tooth is a vertical fracture that starts on the enamel and goes deep into the dentin. In some cases, it might even extend into the root or roots (back teeth have more than one root). Typical treatment involves root canals and crowning, though an extraction cannot be ruled out too.

If the fracture begins at the root of the teeth, then it is known as a split root. A split root, which is extremely painful, usually results in an extraction because the whole tooth is affected.

Broken Cusp

The cusps are the pointed chewing surfaces of the teeth. Broken cusps do not usually reach the pulp, which means they don't result in loss of teeth. However, they are very visible, which is why most people love to cover them up with dental crowns.

Therefore, when you get a tooth fracture, don't assume anything until you see a dentist like those at Mission Dental Center. He or she will analyze the nature, type, depth and location of the fracture. The information is then used to determine the most appropriate treatment for your fracture.