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To repair a cracked tooth, a dentist may need to either administer a crown or a filling. The type of treatment used typically depends on the severity of the crack. Minor surface cracks are fairly normal for most people, and these can usually be buffed and polished by a dentist to make them less noticeable. When a tooth has cracked completely in two, a dentist will normally need to assess the damage to determine whether he should fix it with a crown or a filling. A crown may be necessary to repair a severely cracked tooth, while cracks that are minor may be treated with fillings.
The primary problem with teeth that are cracked in two pieces and left untreated is that the cracks will likely get much worse over time. This tends to happen in much the same way as a cracked windshield in a car. The crack will typically spread until the entire tooth breaks off into two pieces. In most cases, the crack encompasses the entire tooth from the nerve up to the surface. A root canal might be necessary to repair a cracked tooth in a person who has a tooth crack that spreads to the nerves of her teeth.
A person who has a minor surface crack, which is often called a craze line, will not normally require treatment from a dentist. Some people do choose to have surface cracks polished by a dentist so that they are not noticeable, but this isn't always necessary. These small surface cracks affect only the enamel of the tooth and do not normally cause any discomfort. Some people may be able to feel rough spots caused by these surface cracks on their teeth with their tongues. Having surface cracks buffed and polished by a dentist should not only make the cracks less noticeable, but might also take away the rough spots.
To repair a cracked tooth, a dentist will have to assess the damage so she can determine which type of treatment is best. Crowns may be very helpful for teeth that have major cracks because they can normally prevent the cracks from spreading. Fillings are usually helpful for minor cracks, but these may need to be redone over time if cracks start to spread. A person might want to repair a cracked tooth with a filling for a temporary quick fix. Fillings might also be a good option for a person who cannot afford a crown, because fillings are typically less expensive than crowns.