How easy is it to detect a cracked tooth when reading an x-ray?

How easy is it to see a cracked tooth from an x-ray? After having two full mouth x-rays from two different dental offices within a month apart, neither set of x-rays detected my cracked tooth. Then I went to another dental office for a third opinion, and that dentist referred me to an Endodontist. After the Endo took x-rays, he told me that my tooth was cracked, and that I needed a root canal immediately. How did the other two dental offices miss seeing the cracked tooth in the x-rays? Is it normal for x-rays and/or dentist to miss identifying cracks in teeth?

Peter from Roswell, NM


To answer your questions, it is extremely difficult to distinguish a cracked tooth on an x-ray. If the x-ray is not taken at the precise angle of the crack in the tooth, it will not show up. My belief is that the endodontist didn’t see the crack either. He probably saw evidence that suggested the crack in your tooth.

This has happened to me personally. I had two molars that needed root canal treatments due to cracks developing in them. These cracks did not show up in my x-rays either.

Read more about fractured or cracked teeth are repaired here on my website.