Q. Is extraction the only option for a cracked tooth?

Answered by
Dr. Bharat Joshi
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 23, 2021

Hello doctor,

About two weeks ago, I bit something that cracked my first molar, bottom left. Over the next two days, the sensitivity worsened, mainly drinking fluids hot or cold, though it was painful if I chewed food on it, and I went to the dentist to think a filling had fallen out. He diagnosed a cracked molar with an x-ray and also putting a very cold bit of steel on, which was painful. He stated the only options were root canal and crown or extraction. The next day the pain sensitivity eased, started using Colgate on prescription. I got a second appoinment at the dentist in two days, and not the tooth is much better and can now chew a cheese sandwich and drink fluids fine. I can feel something sometimes, but it is very low level. Could the tooth have fixed itself, or would a filling be sufficient?



Welcome to

It seems that the tooth can be saved, and there can be many options like RCT (root canal treatment) with crowns, pins, and post and core. I suggest you, please share a picture of the involved tooth for the best treatment.

The Probable causes:


Investigations to be done:


Thank you doctor,

I am 54 years of age, and teeth have never been a problem, but extraction is a lot cheaper. I can not take a picture of the tooth, as it would probably show little anyway. I cannot see any issue myself using a magnified mirror, and it is the first molar. I know the tooth can be saved with RCT and crown. I just wondered if there is another way, as a filling, across the top of the existing crown to cover the crack up? Because I have negligible pain. Would you normally recommend RCT and crown rather than extraction? Overall I have a good set of teeth and have only had two very small fillings when I was a teenager. What is the normal lifespan of an RCT and crown?



Welcome back to

I always recommend RCT in case of either failure of normal restoration, indirect pulp capping, or grossly decayed tooth, which cannot be saved with crown buildup. But I always recommend extraction as a last resort since my ethics do not allow me to lose a tooth as it can be saved. As per your history and lack of an x-ray, I thought that you have bigger trauma, so I recommended RCT. In case the pain is less, or tooth structure is ok, please go for restoration (sand witch technique) or indirect pulp capping.

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