How Serious is Fractured Root?

The roots of teeth can actually be fractured in multiple different ways. The crown of the tooth is the portion above the gumline which patients brush and is used to chew food. The tooth’s crown includes the hard outer shell or the enamel. The teeth have deep roots which go into the gums and jawbone.

Teeth Layers

There are layers within the tooth. Below the enamel is the second layer or dentin. Dentin is the center layer of the tooth which contains the dental pulp. This layer includes nerves and blood vessels. Any time there is damage or trauma to the tooth which impacts the pulp, it will cause a great deal of pain.

Minor cracks that remain untreated can lead to permanent consequences. General dentists can aid in preventing infection and maintaining healthy teeth, however, there are certain issues which must be treated by a specialist. An endodontist is a specialized dentist who provides treatment for various issues such as infections, cracks, chips, or breaks in the teeth.

Tooth Fractures

Tooth fractures which are severe enough, can compromise the entire tooth and even result in damage to the surrounding teeth. Fractures can give plaque access to the inner layers of the tooth, resulting in an infection. The tooth’s enamel acts as a barrier to protect the teeth against infection. When fractures damage to the enamel, infection can break through this barrier. Below are various types of fractures which can be treated by an endodontist:

Oblique Supragingival Fracture

Oblique supragingival fractures are cracks in the upper portion of the tooth above the gum. While this type of fracture does not always result in pain immediately, it can lead to infection or future pain when it is not treated. This type of fracture is typically smaller in size and affects the surface of the tooth which is used for chewing. Chewing on a fractured tooth will likely result in additional issues in the future. The endodontist will examine the fracture in order to determine the best treatment option.

Oblique Subgingival Fracture

An oblique subgingival fracture covers a larger portion of the tooth and may reach down the root and into the jawbone. This type of fracture generally causes a great deal of pain and can make routine tasks like speaking and chewing quite challenging. It is possible for this type of fracture to also impact the tooth’s nerves.

Oblique Root Fracture

Oblique root fractures take place below the gum line and extend down the root into the jaw. This type of fracture is extremely painful and endodontic treatment is typically required.

Vertical Furcation Fracture

Vertical furcation fractures involve the splitting of the tooth and results in two or more roots. This fracture causes serious pain and make it nearly impossible to use the tooth for daily function.

Vertical Apical Root Fracture

A vertical apical root fracture is a type of fracture which splits directly down the middle of the tooth and root. This can is painful and requires professional treatment which may include a root canal in some cases.

Vertical Root Fracture

When a portion of the tooth’s root breaks off, it is called a vertical root fracture. This is often caused by brittle roots from the death of the nerve or a previous root canal procedure which failed.

Patients who think they may have experienced any type of root fracture or are experiencing pain in their mouth should follow up with their dentist right away. The dental professional can examine the mouth, obtain x-rays if needed, and determine the cause of the issue. Once the underlying cause is identified, treatment can begin. Neglecting to treat root fractures or other issues in the mouth can result in serious, long-term issues, including the loss of the tooth.

Most Common Root Fractures in Teeth