Cracked Tooth, Fractured Teeth, Broken Molars

- feature of unhealthy teeth


Cracked teeth are often caused by malocclusion also known as occlusal disease. When your teeth and jaw have a healthy geometry many teeth meet at the same time when you close your bite. This spreads the considerable force of your jaws across the teeth. Even when chewing or cracking a hard(ish) object between your teeth the shape of your molars is designed to focus the forces at their peaks causing the object to break long before your teeth will (unless the object is really hard, in which case your nerves will tell you this isn't a good object to bite upon and you'll stop clenching very quickly).

Tooth fractures are more often caused by repetitive stresses on the molars that result from the teeth meeting in ways they were not designed to meet.

If you have teeth that fracture and break despite repairs (while you are also maintaining good oral hygiene – if you aren't brushing, flossing and rinsing correctly and regularly, you are opening the door to plaque-induced tooth decay and should expect long term break-down of your teeth), then it is likely that there is an occlusal explanation to these fractures. Similarly, if you have had a ceramic crown placed on a molar and have that break within a year or two, it is quite likely that this has happened because of occlusal forces and not because of a problem in the manufacture of the crown.

Reasons cracked teeth are not good:

Obviously cracked teeth lead to decaying or broken teeth and eventual loss of the teeth. However, they are usually signs of an occlusal problem so the bigger goal should be to fix the underlying cause and then repair the damage.

Things that can go wrong if you have fractured teeth:

See also:


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Video Transcript

Using BiteFX to explain cracked teeth.

Unless you have taken a sharp blow to the front teeth, cracks and factures are most often seen in the back teeth – that is, your molars.

Although these fractures can be the result of chewing, they are more often caused by the effects of malocclusion.

A healthy tooth geometry will have many teeth contacting at the same time when you close your bite. This spreads forces across the teeth.

Also your molars will meet peaks-to-valleys with the forces being exerted down the length of the tooth.

However, if your jaw and tooth geometry is such that some teeth can meet in other ways they become candidates for fracturing.

For example, at night some of your jaw muscles can relax, allowing your jaw to go to its fully seated position, here your teeth might come together at only one point, with the two contacting teeth bearing all the closing force of your jaw.

If you clench and grind on those teeth for long periods of the night – as you may do, unconsciously trying to remove whatever seems to be stopping you closing your bite, then you can imagine how fractures may start.

Similarly if your front teeth are not preventing your back teeth from contacting when your jaw is moved forwards or to the side, molars can be rubbing continually on each other until one or both start to crack.

Cracks can be repaired, but unless the underlying cause is corrected they are likely to reappear, requiring larger and larger repairs until the whole tooth has to be replaced.