Endodontic topics aren’t typically on a patient’s “need to know” list unless they’re in pain.
We understand this, especially since there are many topics that we don’t spend time learning about. We’re happy to leave things to the experts.
However, the problem with doing this with certain topics—especially those that are health-related—is that it can adversely impact your health.
Take a vertical root fracture for example. Some patients avoid seeing the dentist after trauma because they’re not in excruciating pain. And yet, the trauma can cause a fracture that, if not treated early, can lead to the loss of a tooth.
Your Renovo endodontic team wants to help you avoid this at all costs!
According to the American Association of Endodontists, a vertical root fracture is a complete or incomplete fracture that starts at the root.
The location of the crack may be on the root only, or it may extend down to the part of the tooth in your mouth called the crown or coronal portion of the tooth.
The crack can involve the cheek/lip surface of the tooth or the tongue portion of the tooth. In some cases, it can extend through to both surfaces of the tooth.
The crack can extend the entire length of the root or simply show up as a short crack at any point along the length of the root.
For a visual, a horizontal crack may cause a tooth to break off right at the gumline. A vertical crack, on the other hand, can result in a split in the entire tooth from top to bottom if left untreated.
The most common reasons why patients have root fractures include:
We want you to live your healthiest life. To do that, you need to know how certain dental issues (like a root fracture) can impact you.
One of the frustrations endodontists have about vertical root fractures is that they often go undiagnosed. The reason for this is due to few (if any) symptoms. In some cases, the symptoms are so mild that patients don’t pay much attention to them. In other cases, the symptoms go away as quickly as they came on. In yet other cases, the symptoms mimic other issues, which can lead to a misdiagnosis.
Your Renovo endo team wants you to inform your dentist of any symptoms you experience no matter how minor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
The fact is that you shouldn’t be aware of your teeth. They should simply function properly for you. Any type of symptom is an indication that something isn’t quite right. It might be something as simple as a popcorn kernel in your gums or it can be something more serious.
That being said, there are some symptoms to watch for that can indicate a vertical root fracture. These include:
During a dental examination, your dentist may find other symptoms that point to a vertical root fracture, such as a deeper-than-average gum pocket. We all have gum pockets around our teeth. Healthy pockets range from one to three millimeters in depth. Anything deeper than that can reveal gum disease or another dental infection.
Your general dentist may also check your teeth with a special light, which illuminates cracks in the teeth. If your dentist notices a crack, they’ll do some more diagnostic testing and refer you to an endodontic studio if they suspect a vertical root fracture.
Another way to detect a root fracture is during root canal treatment. During this appointment, the endodontist may notice a cracking or popping sound while they fill the canal with gutta-percha. They may also witness bleeding in the canal or an enlarged canal.
It is rare that all the above symptoms are present in a patient with a vertical root fracture. That’s what makes diagnosis so difficult and frustrating. The symptoms are often mild and are like those of other dental conditions. But the longer a patient waits to receive an evaluation, the more damage they will sustain and the harder it is to treat.
In general, root fractures aren’t always easy to treat either. Many dentists automatically recommend an extraction. However, due to the latest dental techniques and technology, we’re able to save more teeth that have vertical root fractures than ever before. Ultimately, seeking immediate treatment can help save your tooth.
The worst-case scenario is that the patient needs an extraction. But with microsurgery techniques, we can preserve the tooth in many cases.
Some ways we can treat a root fracture include:
After some months the bone will heal around the root, providing it with more strength and stability.
Your Renovo endodontic team consists of skilled endodontists that want to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime. Our unique skills and expertise, as well as our use of the latest endodontic technology, help us do just that!
If you present with a vertical root fracture, our team will carefully evaluate the health of your tooth, your overall health, and your unique needs. Based on this information, we’ll present you with a treatment plan that may include microsurgery or extraction. We will discuss our diagnosis and answer all your questions and concerns about our treatment plan.
We do not take our job lightly. We will not recommend an extraction unless it is absolutely necessary. You have our promise that we will do all we can to help you save your teeth and prevent future issues.
If you have questions about vertical root fracture or any other endodontic topic, your Renovo team is ready to help! We’re a diverse group of endodontists dedicated to providing the very best care we can to our patients. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.