Most Common Root Fractures in Teeth

A dental root fracture occurs when a tooth breaks so severely that it extends down into the root. Dental root fractures can be caused by various issues. In order to determine the best treatment plan, it is important to first identify the cause and type of root fracture.

Common causes for a dental root fracture include damage from a fall, accident, or sports injury, chronic grinding of the teeth, poor oral hygiene, and untreated cracks in the teeth. The following article will review the main causes of dental root fractures, various types of fractures, and treatment methods.

Layers of a Tooth

The tooth contains a few different layers which are important to understand in order to explain a root fracture. The three primary layers of teeth include the following:

1. Enamel: this is the visible portion of the tooth located above the gums. The enamel is incredibly strong, but can be susceptible to damage
2. Dentin: this is layer directly under the enamel
3. Dental pulp: the dental pulp is at the center of the tooth. It contains nerves and blood vessels

Dental Root Fracture Causes

In most cases, a dental root fracture is caused by sudden trauma or an accident. This can include a bad fall, a sports-related injury or a car accident. Patients should ensure they practice good oral hygiene and take precautions to reduce the risk of a dental root fracture.

Types of Dental Root Fractures

Prior to treating a root fracture, it is important for the endodontists to understand what type of dental root fracture the patient has experienced. Each type of fracture is uniquely treated. Common types of root fractures include:

* Oblique supragingival fracture
* Oblique subgingival fracture
* Vertical furcation fracture
* Vertical root fracture
* Vertical apical root fracture
In order to accurately determine the type of fracture and severity of the damage, it is common for the endodontist to order dental X-rays. They will also conduct a thorough examination of the teeth and mouth.

Root Fracture Treatment Options

Treatment options for a root fracture will vary based on the severity of the damage. In cases of more severe fractures where the dental pulp is damaged, the endodontist will likely suggest a root canal. During this procedure, the endodontist will remove the damaged portion of the root and filling it to prevent infection. Crowns can then be placed over the tooth to help restore the function and appearance of the tooth. In cases of a severe fracture, an extraction may be necessary.


The goal of treatment is to preserve the tooth and prevent extraction. Fortunately, endodontists are often highly success in helping patients maintain the tooth after a fracture. In severe cases, the tooth may require extraction. Once the mouth is healed, patients can discuss tooth-replacement options such as a dental implant. Root canal therapy and other treatments commonly used for the dental root fractures can last for a decade or more.

Follow up with a dental professional if you may have a root fracture. The dentist or endodontist can help preserve and restore the teeth which have been damaged. A dental root fracture should be taken seriously and treated as soon as possible. When the issue remains untreated over a long period of time, it can result in long-term damage or even the loss of the tooth.

Treating Fractured Root