2 Ways Your Dentist Can Help An Adult Tooth With A Vertical Root Fracture

The root system of a tooth starts below the soft tissue with the roots that anchor the tooth into its socket. The roots then lead up into a root canal that carries pulp material through the center of the teeth to ensure the tooth's dentin remains vital. Trauma and endodontic surgery complications can create a vertical fracture through this root system and threaten the life of the tooth.

Children who suffer vertical root fractures during sports have more treatment options since the dentist essentially only needs to keep the baby tooth in place until the adult tooth is ready to erupt. Adult teeth have fewer treatment options with this type of fracture.

How can your family dentist help an adult tooth that has suffered a vertical root fracture?

Endodontic Surgery

Vertical fractures are often the result of endodontic surgery complications but a similar type of surgery is also the only chance for your dentist to save the tooth.

If the crack goes straight down the canal but misses both of the actual roots, your dentist might recommend a hemisection. A hemisection involves surgically splitting the tooth so that half of the crown and each root now becomes its own tooth.

A vertical fracture that only goes through one of multiple roots on a tooth might be treated via root resection. The endodontic surgery involves the dentist surgically removing only the affected root and leaving the other root and the crown in place.

Endodontic surgery only works in specific circumstances on teeth that have more than one root. The option is often a long shot but still worth discussing with your dentist.

Extraction and Replacement

A tooth with a vertical fracture will usually need to be extracted. The directionality of the crack doesn't leave much healthy tooth left for the dentist to work around. If your dentist does recommend an extraction, discuss dental replacement options before the day of your extraction.

Replacing the missing tooth can maintain your self-esteem and chewing comfort. Choosing a dental implant as the replacement can also keep your jawbone and tissue in the area healthy for years to come. The implant's root is implanted in the jawbone much like a natural tooth root and the stimulation helps promote bone growth and the affixed artificial crown helps promote soft tissue health.

Bone and tissue health will be particularly important following a vertical root fracture as the fracture-related damage can also start to decay the underlying tissue and bone. Talk to your family dentist, like Terry W Droske DDS, for more information on procedures.