Can I leave Fractured Tooth Root In?

When patients have a tooth extracted, it is possible for the dentist to leave a portion of the tooth’s root behind. Tooth fragments which are not properly removed, can result in an infection or other issues. In cases where a portion of the tooth’s root is left behind, it can be removed to help relieve infection and discomfort.

Following a tooth extraction, it is possible for the dentist to miss a portion of the tooth’s roots. In most cases, the dentist does not have a great deal of experience in tooth extractions. It can be especially problematic when the crown of the tooth breaks off during removal. When a tooth has a large cavity, it has a tendency to crumble or break down. This can leave the tooth’s roots embedded below the gums. The dentist must be highly skilled in order to properly remove the entire tooth. Leftover roots embedded in the mouth can result in dental infections and other types of oral health issues.

Another common cause for fractured tooth fragments is when the root fragment is located close to a nerve. The teeth can be closely associated with nerves which run throughout the jawbone. When leftover fragments are retrieved, it can lead to long-term nerve damage. This can result in various types of nerve problems. The dentist may intentionally leave a small tooth fragment in the mouth if they think it is too risky to remove it.

The most common side effect of a tooth fragment in the mouth is a dental infection. When there is bacteria present, it can result in abscesses and swellings in and around the root fragments. This can lead to systemic problems including Ludwig’s angina. While this condition is quite rare, leftover wisdom tooth fragments can cause the condition. In some cases, the condition may require hospitalization.

Bone Spicule

The patient may confuse tooth fragments such as the root for actual bone tissue. Once a tooth is removed, bone will form in the area. It is possible for a patient to experience extra bone formation following an extraction. In some cases, the bone may stick out of the gums, which is called a bone spicule. The spicule will often heal on its own and dissolve. In some cases, however, it may require removal.


The cost for removing leftover tooth fragments can range based on the size and location. On average, it costs about $200. In order to complete the procedure, the dentist will likely order x-rays and perform an examination. In most cases, dental insurance will not cover the cost for removing fractured root fragments.

The procedure for removing a tooth fragment includes the following steps:

* Local anesthetic
* Gum tissue in the area is reflected
* A dental hand piece and dental instruments are used to remove bone surrounding the tooth fragment
* The area is irrigated and a suture is placed

Follow up with a dentist or oral surgeon if you think you have a fractured tooth root in your gums. It is important to have this removed and most general dentists are not able to perform the procedure. Leftover tooth root fragments can cause serious issues when they are not properly removed.

Fractured Root Symptoms and Treatments