Treating Root Fractures

Although your teeth are extremely durable, trauma can result in serious damage. Root fractures are among the most severe type of damage that a tooth can sustain. These fractures compromise your ability to chew properly, and can lead to serious oral  health problems if not addressed immediately.

Learning more about root fractures will help you better manage your oral health in the future.

What is a root fracture?

A root fracture is essentially a crack that forms in the surface of your tooth. The crack typically extends from the chewing surface of your tooth up through the root of the tooth, but horizontal fractures that shear only the root can also occur.

A root fracture can be barely perceptible, or it can result in a piece of your tooth chipping away from the remaining chewing surface.

What causes root fractures?

Root fractures are the result of trauma sustained by the tooth. This trauma can come in many forms. A direct impact to the face can cause one of more of your teeth to fracture.

Biting down on hard foods with teeth that are weakened by decay can also lead to root fractures. In some cases, a simple fall or auto accident can cause a patient to bite down too hard, fracturing a tooth as it comes into contact with the tooth above or below it.

What dangers are associated with a root fracture?

Once your tooth has been fractured, it's important that you seek professional dental help as quickly as possible. A fractured tooth can easily lead to serious dental problems that will compromise your health.

Since a root fracture can leave the nerve of your tooth exposed, infection can begin to form. You may experience an abscess near the affected tooth, and this infection can spread to surrounding teeth if left untreated. The exposed nerve can also produce a significant amount of pain, hindering your ability to eat or drink comfortably.

What treatments are available for a fractured tooth?

Treating a fractured tooth requires your dentist to assess the level of damage. A small crack or chip may be treated with a crown. If you are able to recover the piece of tooth that has fractured off, your dentist may be able to reattach it using dental cement.

If the fractured tooth has become infected or the crack is too severe, you will likely need to have the tooth removed and replaced with a dental implant. Contact a dentist, like Olson, Brant N DDS PA, for more help.