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FAQ:  Cracked Tooth

Cracked Molars: 62 year old male with cracked molars. The cracks run horizontal near the base of the tooth just up from the gun line.

I can feel the cracks with my finger nail. The molars are all fillings down the center of the teeth. The sides of the teeth have been breaking off requiring caps.

My question is, can some preventive work be done to reinforce the tooth before it breaks. I eat very lite foods knowing I have this problem. The fillings are old, amalgam I think. ... Visitor from PA

What is occuring with your very filled teeth is common as we get older.

I would guess that these teeth that are breaking down and fracturing were filled with silver amalgam fillings a long time ago. These were probably filled the first time when you were a child. As you got older larger and bigger filling were needed in these teeth. It can get to the point where your natural tooth structure that remains, is very thin -just a shell of thin enamel, trying to hold your tooth together.

When you have reached this point where many of your teeth are in this condition, a proactive dental treatment plan should be considered. Since you are 62 yrs old, you are just about into your retirement years.

A good plan is to first make sure you do not have any gum disease or major jawbone loss. If you do have periodontal bone loss in your teeth you have a poorer long term prognosis to keep them. If you have seen the dentist over the years,and have brushed and flossed your teeth,then you should have decent bone support for fine supportive dentistry.

The options to strenghten and fortify weakend damaged teeth are to either bond them with stong composite resin, or protect them with onlays of gold or porcelain for long term support.

If the teeth are so filled and weakened that the preceding options would not hold the teeth together, then full coverage crown(cap) restorations may be the better choice for long term strength and support.

Editorial Staff

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