Vertical Tooth Root Fractures Explained

Over time teeth experience wear and tear just like any other part of your body. This can lead to degradation of materials and the possibility of cracks. A vertical root fracture is one of the five different cracked tooth types. As the name implies, this type of break travels from the very bottom of the root all the way up to the top exposed surface. Although some discomfort may exist, many people do not notice this type of damage. They may only seek treatment after infection, swelling, and pain begins.

Common Causes of Vertical Root Fractures

Any cracks occur more readily in weak teeth that have already sustained damage, have had a root canal, fillings, crowns or caps, or other restorative work. They can occur to healthy teeth if they experience trauma, you bite down on a hard object like ice or candy, or if nearby teeth are already cracked or loose. They sometimes occur during root canal procedures. You may notice it happening if you hear a pop, experience a burst of pain, and the area around the tooth begins to bleed.

Vertical Root Fracture Symptoms

As mentioned above, when a tooth is first fractured, there may not be any noticeable issues. Possible symptoms include general discomfort or a sharp twinge of pain when biting or chewing, a visible crack during a dental examination, swelling, and abscess, or boil near the tooth indicating an infection, or a pocket in the gum next to the tooth in question.

A dentist should notice if a vertical root fracture occurs during a root canal procedure. If this happens, they may order x-rays to identify the exact extent of the damage. Another diagnostic option is a process called transillumination. This uses a special light that shines around and through teeth and highlights breakage and cracks.

Treatment Options for Vertical Root Fractures

After diagnosis, dentists can offer multiple treatment options.  One of the simplest involves bonding the tooth itself using dental cement or another type of adhesive. This will stop the fracture from getting worse and can help prevent other physical damage. Unfortunately, this only works in some cases, another option is getting a tooth extraction.  Taking care of these issues sooner than later minimizes the chance of getting a potentially serious infection. Any existing infection can grow easily with a vertical root fracture and damage the surrounding tissue including the jawbone. With a healthy bone, you may be a candidate for a dental implant to replace the lost tooth.

One of the best ways to alleviate potentially serious problems caused by vertical root fracture is to avoid getting one in the first place. Take proper care of your teeth to prevent the need for fillings and root canal. Regular dental checkups for cleaning will detect any cavities and other issues before they become expensive problems.  Discuss all your options if your dental team suggests a root canal to help avoid fractures and structural tooth weakness.

If you experience any of the symptoms described above, schedule an appointment with Sahara Dental as soon as possible. They will diagnose your of vertical root fracture or other problem and suggest appropriate treatment options.  Remember, their goal is to ensure proper teeth health and function now and for many years to come.