When a tooth has chipped or fractured, it is necessary to determine the extent of the damage. A minor fracture or small crack usually causes no discomfort and can frequently be restored with a filling. A deeper fracture may cause pain on chewing if the cracked portion of the tooth flexes or may cause sensitivity to temperature changes if the crack is near the pulp (nerve).
A more seriously cracked tooth may need to be restored with a crown (cap) to prevent further breakage and prevent sensitivity or pain caused by flexure. For some severely broken teeth, the only option is extraction.