Does a Cracked Tooth Need to Be Pulled?

does a cracked tooth need to be pulled - woman with hand on jaw

Does a Cracked Tooth Need to Be Pulled?

Playing sports, tripping or falling, and even chewing ice can lead to cracked or chipped teeth. A cracked tooth does not always need to be pulled, but it’s important to know when an extraction is necessary. Putting off the proper treatment can lead to significant pain and serious complications with your other teeth. 

At Prescott Dentistry, our doctors can perform tooth extractions to solve a variety of dental issues, including cracked teeth. We put together this guide on cracked teeth and what signs indicate that your cracked tooth may need to be pulled.   

How to Know If You Cracked a Tooth

It’s typically pretty obvious when you chip a tooth. Cracks and fractures, on the other hand, aren’t always easy to notice. Nonvisible symptoms of a cracked tooth include:

  • Pain that comes and goes
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet foods and drinks
  • Swelling of the gums around the affected tooth
  • Pain when eating, particularly when you open your mouth after biting

When Does a Cracked Tooth Need to Be Pulled?

The Crack Is Below the Gum Line

Whether or not extraction is necessary often depends on the extent of the damage. If the crack occurs in the root or begins on the chewing surface and extends below the gum line, then the only solution is to pull the tooth. 

Without immediate treatment, tooth cracks that start above the gum line can spread deeper over time and result in a split tooth. If you notice a crack in your tooth, no matter how small, it’s essential that you consult your dentist about treatment.  

The Tooth Is Infected

When there is extensive damage, a cracked tooth can result in an infection of the tooth’s pulp. An infection can easily spread to the surrounding bone and gum tissue and even other teeth. The early stages of infection may be treatable with a root canal. However, severe infections will likely require extracting the affected tooth to preserve the rest of your teeth. 

Signs of a pulp infection include:

  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen gums
  • Tender neck glands
  • Increased pain, especially when chewing
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages

Other Solutions for a Cracked Tooth


If the crack is above the gum line, the tooth can be treated with a simple crown to prevent the crack from worsening. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that gets placed over the cracked tooth to keep the broken parts together and protect your tooth from further damage. Dental crowns are shaped and colored to appear natural in your mouth. 

Root Canal

If you have a minor infection along with a crack above the gum line, you may also need a root canal in addition to the crown. A root canal involves removing bacteria from your infected root canal in order to preserve the tooth. Root canals are a painless, uncomplicated procedure that stops the infection from spreading. 

Cracked Tooth Treatment in Prescott

If you have a cracked tooth that may or may not need to be pulled, contact Prescott Dentistry in Arizona. Whether you need a tooth extraction, a root canal, or a crown, our compassionate team can help. We’ll take a look at your mouth and determine the best solution for restoring your smile and relieving your pain. Give us a call at 928-445-1660 today to schedule an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/29/2022). Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels