What Is a Root Fracture?
Root fracture in dentistry is a condition where the root of your tooth might crack or fracture. Roots are hidden beneath gums, so the crack isn’t visible unless it extends into the tooth crown. Root fractures are clinically described as involving dental pulp, dentin, and cementum.
Roots are the foundation of dentition, and their cracks are more dangerous and challenging to treat. Our dental specialists, Dr. Christopher Adams and Dr. Andrew Johnson, are skilled in treating root fractures according to the type and depth of the fracture.
Causes of Root Fracture
Root fractures might result from sudden tooth trauma from chewing hard objects, sports injuries, or teeth grinding. Decayed or weak teeth are more susceptible to root fracture.
Older adults are at a greater risk for tooth and root fractures, especially those whose teeth structure is compromised due to large dental fillings or previous root canals.
What Are the Symptoms of a Fractured Tooth Root?
Root fractures are hidden and may go unnoticed for a long time. However, if an infection occurs, it might start developing symptoms. Pain in the tooth while biting or chewing on things, tooth sensitivity, and pus accumulation in surrounding tissues are prominent symptoms of root fractures.
Can a Fracture in a Tooth Root Heal?
A cracked tooth or root cannot heal itself. Tooth fracture may show its symptoms after a long while, but it can expose underlying layers like dentin, dental pulp, and nerves, resulting in immense pain and infection development.
Types of Dental Root Fracture
Root fractures are common in two types - vertical fractures involving tooth crowns and horizontal or transverse fractures, which can occur as oblique fractures.
Oblique fractures involve a crack below the gum line, under the jawbone. Oblique root fractures are painful for patients and require immediate treatment and extraction.
Vertical fractures are not a common injury and involve a part of the root breaking off. This type of fracture is treated by apicoectomy, in which the end of the root is extracted, leaving the top of the tooth in place.
Root Fracture Treatment
The primary root fracture treatment involves the extraction of a diseased or fractured tooth, which is followed by a dental implant or prosthesis.
If a crack has only extended into the dental pulp, the damaged tooth is treated with a root canal procedure, followed by a dental crown that protects the crack and prevents it from spreading further.
Root fractures are clinical emergencies, and their appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan must be designed as soon as possible to treat and heal the fracture effectively.
At Peak Endodontics, our dental specialists ensure that all factors are taken into consideration before finalizing a treatment plan, such as position and depth of fracture, the extent of damage, and the type of root fracture. The treatment plan depends upon the individual condition of the tooth and the patient. If you notice any related symptoms that indicate you might have fractured your tooth root, do not hesitate to contact us at 425-358-9033.