A fractured tooth root is rather hard to diagnose as it isn’t always visible. A common cause can be chewing on hard foods, grinding your teeth during the night, or it could even happen naturally as you age in life. A fractured tooth root doesn’t necessarily mean that the crack will appear above the gum line and the symptoms are likely to come and go. As an individual, a fractured tooth root can be quite disturbing, especially when it comes to eating or drinking cold and warm beverages.
Due to the complexity of diagnosing a fractured tooth root, we have put together this article to help identify symptoms and understand the types of treatments that are available. A fracture doesn’t always mean that the tooth needs to be removed; however, in some circumstances, a cracked root might result in damaged tooth structure which will require extraction or root canal treatment. The treatment procedures for a cracked tooth root could cause a fair amount of pain and the recovery time can be longer than expected.
We would not advise that you eat hard food in order to prevent infections and the worsening of the condition if you suspect that you have a fractured tooth root as it could quickly lead to infection. Upon reading this article, if you feel that you may have a fractured tooth root, you should contact your dentistry professional as soon as possible for a thorough examination. Tooth fractures in the root won’t repair themselves, so the only option is a dental procedure.
Causes of a Fractured Tooth Root
A root fracture of a permanent tooth is commonly referred to as a vertical root fracture and it usually consists of a crack that appears on the root of the tooth below the gum line. Occasionally, the fracture will spread up the natural tooth appearing above the gum line where there is then the risk of a complete split. Below are a few of the signs and symptoms of a fractured tooth root.
- Excessive pressure or hard trauma
- Like with several traumatic dental injuries, a fractured root commonly affects those who have already had multiple procedures that have ended up weakening the integrity of the broken tooth and the fracture site
- Fractured root relating to fragile teeth
- Age, a fractured tooth and root is often seen in elderly people
Root Symptoms of a Fractured Tooth
It is important to know that not every fractured tooth will produce symptoms, but when they do occur,the pain can be excruciating. A fractured root typically presents intermittent symptoms which often leads people to believe that it isn’t severe, especially if the fracture itself isn’t visible. The most likely symptoms you would experience include:
- The occasional sharp pain when chewing or biting things, especially when you release the current bite.
- Painful sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages.
Unless the tooth with the root fracture becomes infected, the symptoms are reasonably limited though when they do arrive it can be very painful. The worst thing about a fractured tooth root is that due to the hard diagnosis many people are unaware that they have, which means they continue as they were before and can end up damaging the root further.
Treatment for a Fractured Tooth
The treatment of a fractured tooth root is again pretty limited. It mostly depends on how big the fracture is and when it was discovered. Unfortunately, the root canal isn’t usually as effective by the time it is discovered, and so root canal has a very poor score rate.
1. Root Canal
A root canal is a dreaded word among patients. As soon as a person learns they need a root canal, they become petrified and consider running for the hills. The critical thing to do is to not get too hyped up by thinking that your tooth will be fixed. If the fracture is on the root and it hasn’t spread up the tooth or completely damaged the root, then root canal may be a valid route. It is widely reported that a root canal is one of the more painful procedures but if there is a chance to save the tooth you may as well give it a shot.
This is also another treatment method for a fractured root. Unfortunately, this is the only other treatment that is offered and most cases actually end up with an extraction. Once the removal has been completed and the area has healed, there are several procedures available to cover the hole left behind from the missing tooth.
Recovery Time of a Fractured Root
The recovery time for a fractured root largely depends on whether it resulted in a root canal or an extraction. Anesthetic is used in both procedures and thanks to modern technology dentistry is becoming a lot swifter in its methods.
Root Canal Recovery
If a dentist recommends a root canal for a fractured root, then this means that there is hope for saving the tooth. It may turn out that the tooth needs to be extracted at a later date, but occasionally a tooth with a fractured root can be saved. Once the root canal procedure has been completed, the gums surrounding the area will remain swollen for a while. For a few days after the treatment, there will likely be some sensitivity, but this should scale back by the day. The evasiveness of the procedure will probably reflect in the recovery time, some dentists advise that the recovery period for root canal could take up to three weeks.
Surprisingly, quite a few people are more nervous about a root canal than they are a complete tooth extraction. Although the whole tooth is being removed, some people feel that it is a less invasive treatment. Immediately after having a tooth extracted, the area will gradually begin to get the feeling back. Once it has fully returned, you should prepare to spend the night on the sofa with a heat pack, dosed up on painkillers. The advised recovery time for a tooth extraction could be up to two weeks but this mostly depends on the type of tooth and how much of it—if any—damaged surrounding areas during the process. It’s not unusual to require stitches after a tooth extraction especially if it was a wisdom tooth. However, as we continue to mention the mouth is the fastest healing part of the body.Therefore, although you may be advised that the recovery time is two weeks, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will take that long. The majority of people reported a significant decrease in pain and discomfort by day three.
A strong tooth does not fracture easily and practicing good oral hygiene is vital for the overall health of the mouth and teeth.
The recovery of a fractured root will most probably take a lot longer to heal than an extraction. Whichever procedure suits you, there will be plenty of movement going on in your mouth. Even though you don’t feel it at the time, the aftermath will involve a lot of swelling. A dentist will provide suitable post procedure advise to help speed up the process. If you suspect that you have a fractured root, then contact the dentist as soon as possible and try to avoid putting any pressure on it or chewing with it.