Your teeth endure a tremendous amount of biting pressure every day, not only from eating, but also from habits like jaw clenching and nighttime grinding. Sometimes, this pressure causes a tooth to fracture or crack. Some cracks aren't a problem, and can exist for years without any negative consequences. Other cracks, especially those next to fillings, can eventually cause a portion of your tooth to break away.
A cracked tooth is sometimes painful when you chew and may be sensitive to hot and cold. Other times, it may feel perfectly fine. We recommend that you always see us for an exam if you think you have a cracked tooth, even if it doesn't hurt. Without treatment, bacteria can seep through the crack in the enamel and cause an infection in the inner pulp layer of your tooth. The pulp layer contains the tooth's nerves and blood supply. From here, the pus from the infection can eventually gather down at the root tip and pass into the jaw bone, causing a painful, destructive abscess.
To prevent a cracked tooth from breaking, and to seal out bacteria and infection, we often recommend placing a crown over a cracked tooth. A crown covers the crack and protects and strengthens your tooth.
It takes at least two appointments to create a crown for you, because it's custom made to precisely fit your tooth. First, we'll prepare the tooth, and take an impression. Using this impression, a model of your mouth is created; your crown is fabricated on this model. You'll wear a temporary crown to cover and protect the prepared tooth while your custom crown is being fabricated.