Do cracks in teeth show up on x-rays?

Hi – Last month, I was a passenger in a car that was involved in an accident. The air bag did not go off. My entire face hit the dashboard very hard. My teeth were hurting, but I couldn’t see any damage. My dentist x-rayed my teeth and didn’t see any damage. She referred me to an endodontist who also did an x-ray. The endodontist said I need a root canal for two teeth that are cracked. I am wondering if I need to get a third opinion and another x-ray. Should a crack in a tooth show up in an x-ray? – Jennifer from Somerville

Jennifer- A crack in a tooth will show up only if the x-ray is taken at the correct angle—the exact angle of the crack. So, it is difficult to see from an x-ray that a tooth is cracked.

The endodontist may not have seen the crack on the x-ray. He likely saw evidence in your tooth that it is cracked.

You may seek another opinion, but it is unlikely that another x-ray will reveal the problem with your teeth.

This blog post is sponsored by New Jersey cosmetic dentists Dr. Allyson Hurley.

Does my tooth need to be extracted?

I moved here from Connecticut in July, so I haven’t had time to thoroughly search out a dentist like I want. I’ve had lower jaw and tooth back on the back left side of my mouth for two weeks. The pain comes and goes. I went to a nearby dentist who did an x-ray. She said that a molar that already has a filling in it has a large cavity. She recommends pulling the tooth and replacing it with a dental implant.

Does this sound right? I had no indication that all of this was happening with the tooth because the pain just started two weeks ago and it comes and goes.  Thanks. – Victoria

Victoria – If the pain in your tooth just started, the tooth has only recently become infected. If the tooth cannot be saved, it would be more likely that you would have felt pain months ago. And an x-ray would not be required to see the damage to the tooth. It would be clearly visible, and normally, you would have lost the filling in the tooth long ago.

It is best to seek a second opinion without telling the second dentist about the diagnosis from the first dentist. Your independent second opinion will help you make a decision about the correct treatment for your tooth.

This blog post is sponsored by New Jersey dentist Dr. Allyson Hurley.