Case Studies

from Contemporary Smiles in Corrimal

A Case Study About Cracked Teeth

Initial Situation

This lady presented with pain to chewing in 2012 on her lower left second molar. This tooth had been restored when she was a teenager with amalgam.

As this tooth comes into contact with the opposing teeth, it flexes and the metal restoration flexes at a different rate than tooth. The integrity of the tooth is already compromised from the very fact that a restoration had to be placed in there in the first instance.

This patient also happens to be a bruxer. With the high levels of parafunctional force applied to the tooth and for the reasons outlined above, cracks develop through the tooth. As the crack grows it can become symptomatic.

A Case Study About Cracked Teeth

The Treatment Plan

At the time we placed a composite restoration. This is a very conservative approach and cost effective. The advantage of a composite restoration over amalgam is that it flexes at a similar rate to tooth and so can be active in crack propagation. The patient was delighted when symptoms resolved.

Unfortunately, the symptoms returned in 2014. At this time we place a ceramic overlay using our cerec system. Symptoms did not resolve in this case. We referred to our local endodontist (Gary Verdickt Sutherland), he noted that the crack had migrated through the pulp chamber floor which we term a vertical root fracture. This has a hopeless prognosis 3+.

The Outcome

This is the worst case scenario. In the vast majority of cases the placement of a ceramic overlay will prevent the crack from propagating further and ensure the survival of the tooth. In the above case, there is a strong likelihood that if a ceramic overlay had been placed in the first instance, then the tooth would still be functioning for this patient.

We do not suggest a ceramic overlay for every crack we see around an amalgam restoration. However, when they become symptomatic early intervention with the most appropriate ceramic overlay designed cadcam and milled with our in house Cerec Omnicam is the best course of action.

A Case Study About Cracked Teeth
A Case Study About Cracked Teeth
A Case Study About Cracked Teeth


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Why choose Contemporary Smiles Dental?

At our practice in Corrimal, patients have access to a comprehensive range of dental treatments. We strive to provide state-of-the-art procedures, including dental implants, orthodontics, hygiene, cosmetic, and unique/bespoke services. Our team of highly skilled and experienced dentists works together to ensure our patients receive the care they need all in one place, without the need for referral to another clinic.

Why do regular dental visits matter?

The importance of routine dental check-ups lies in their ability to detect oral health issues at an early stage, making treatment simpler and more cost-effective. Preventive measures can also be taken to avoid the onset of oral problems. Additionally, certain diseases or medical conditions may manifest symptoms in the mouth, making regular visits to the dentist crucial.

How often do I have to go to the dentist?

Dental treatment is tailored to the individual, as every person's oral health needs are unique. The frequency of dental visits may vary, with some requiring only one or two visits a year, while others may require more. Your smile is unique, and your dental care should reflect that.

What should I look for when choosing a dentist?

It's advisable to consult multiple dentists before making a decision. Dental care is a personal service that relies on a strong relationship between dentist and patient. During your initial visit, you should be able to assess if the dentist is a good fit for you.

What are the early signs and symptoms of mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer can occur in various parts of the mouth including the lips, tongue and the throat. Sadly, mouth cancer has a high mortality rate due to late detection. However, there is hope as precancerous conditions can develop well before cancer and if detected early, can be effectively treated with a high chance of prevention or cure. Some common early signs of mouth cancer include:


  • An ulcer or sore throat lasting more than three weeks.
  • A white or red patch on the soft tissue, gums, tongue, or inner mouth.
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarse voice for over six weeks.
  • Difficulty swallowing or feeling of something stuck in the throat.
  • Neck swelling lasting more than three weeks.
  • Numbness of the tongue or other mouth area.
Is bad breath a sign of gum disease?

Chronic bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of gum disease and other oral issues, making it important to identify the cause. If you are experiencing persistent bad breath, schedule a visit with your dentist. Regular check-ups enable them to detect any underlying problems, as your bad breath may indicate a medical condition. If your dentist finds no oral health issues, they may refer you to a primary care physician.

Should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth removal is not always necessary, but in certain situations, their arrival can cause discomfort, swelling, or infection. The most frequent issue we encounter is the lack of sufficient space for the wisdom teeth to emerge, leading to the recommendation of extraction for impacted wisdom teeth.

How long will my implants last?

Your new teeth's lifespan depends on the quality of care you provide after the implant area has fully healed (typically 3-6 months) and the crowns have been properly fitted. Proper care, such as you would give to natural teeth, will ensure the longevity of your implants and they can last a lifetime.

How can you get in touch with us?

If you're located in the Illawarra and seeking any dental treatments, we welcome you to contact us for a consultation. We'd be happy to discuss your options with you.