Fractured Root - Symptoms and Treatments

Because they are not always visible from the surface, a fractured tooth root can be quite challenging to diagnose. Common causes for the fracture include chewing on hard foods or objects, grinding the teeth, or the result of the natural aging process. When the root is fractured, the crack does not always appear above the gum line. In addition, the symptoms of a fractured root may be sporadic. Fractured tooth roots can increase a patient’s sensitivity to hot and cold things.

The following article will review various symptoms associated with a fractured root and available treatment options. Fortunately, fractures do not always require removal of the tooth. A cracked root can damage the structure of the tooth and require a root canal or extraction in severe cases. The treatment options and recovery time for a cracked tooth root vary based on the individual scenario.

Patients with a fractured root should avoid eating hard foods to help prevent infection and worsening of the fracture. When a patient suspects they may have a fractured tooth root, they should follow up with their dentist right away. The dentist will complete a thorough examination, obtain x-rays, and discuss the treatment options. In many cases, a root fracture will not repair itself without intervention.


When the root of a permanent tooth is fractured, it is often called a vertical root fracture. In most cases, it contains a crack which is apparent on the root of the tooth just below the gum line. In some cases, the fracture spreads up to the crown of the tooth and is visible above the gum line. When this occurs, there is a risk for the patient experiencing a complete split.


Treatment options for fractured tooth roots are very limited. The options depends on the size of the fracture and how quickly it was detected. Root canal treatment is most effective when the fracture is identified right away. When there is a delay in discovery, root canals can have a limited success rate.

Root Canal

Many patients dread the idea of receiving a root canal. When someone hears that they require a root canal, it can be quite alarming. Some patients even consider avoiding treatment altogether. In cases where the fracture is on the root and it has not yet spread up the tooth, a root canal may be a good option. Root canals are reportedly one of the most painful procedures patients can undergo, however, it can help preserve the tooth.


The other treatment option for fractured roots is to extract the tooth. This is unfortunately the only alternative treatment. In many cases, the tooth will eventually require extraction. Once the tooth is removed and the mouth has an opportunity to heal, there are excellent tooth-replacement options available such as a dental implant. It is extremely successful, secure, and looks just like the natural teeth.

The recovery time for a fractured root often takes longer than a complete extraction. Follow up with your dentist to determine which treatment option will work best for your individual situation. While the dental professional will ensure patients remain comfortable during the treatment, the recovery can be quite painful and involve significant swelling.

The dentist will provide patients with instructions to follow after the procedure. In order to ensure the treatment is successful, it is critical to follow the post-treatment instructions and continue practicing good oral hygiene. Patients who suspect they have a fractured root should contact their dentist immediately. Avoid chewing on the damaged tooth and placing any pressure on it before you are able to see the dentist. Prompt treatment is critical in preserving the tooth and ensuring the best possible outcome.

How Serious is Fractured Root