Types of Dental Root Fractures

Types of Dental Root Fractures

Contrary to what some people may assume, there are multiple types of fractures for the roots of teeth. The part of the teeth that people brush and use to chew food or speak is the crown. The crown consists of the outer shell known as the enamel and is what most people refer to when they mention anything about the teeth. However, the teeth have roots that go deeper into the gums and jawbone.

Understanding the Layers of Teeth

Within the tooth, there are layers that people may not be aware of. Underneath the enamel is the dentin. The dentin is the second layer of the tooth and contains the dental pulp. The dental pulp is the tooth’s center and contains the nerves and blood vessels. Any damage to the tooth that affects the position of these layers or reaches the dental pulp will cause the patient serious pain.

Even a minor crack that one decides to leave untreated can lead to catastrophic results the longer the patient waits to seek professional treatment. While a general dentist is certainly effective in preventing infection and keeping teeth healthy, there are issues that only a specialist will be able to treat. An endodontist can provide the necessary treatment for various infections, cracks, chips, or breaks in the teeth.

Several different types of tooth fractures

When a tooth fracture goes deep enough, it can jeopardize the entire tooth and the health of the surrounding teeth. The fracture can also allow plaque to breach the layers of the tooth and cause an infection. While the enamel is a shield that protects teeth against infection, a fracture can cause enough damage for the infection to breakthrough.

There are several different types of fractures that an endodontist will treat:

  • Oblique supragingival fracture
  • Oblique subgingival fracture
  • Oblique root fracture
  • Vertical furcation fracture
  • Vertical apical root fracture
  • Vertical root fracture

Types of fractures

Oblique supragingival fracture

An oblique supragingival fracture consists of a crack in the upper portion of the tooth above the gum line. This type of fracture may not cause immediate pain but can lead to infection or pain in the future without treatment. While this type of fracture can be fairly small, it usually affects the tooth’s surface.

The surface of the tooth is the most-used section for chewing food. Using a tooth with this type of fracture will only cause more issues. With various forms of treatment available, an endodontist will need to examine the fracture to determine the most effective form of treatment.

Oblique subgingival fracture

An oblique subgingival fracture covers more of the tooth and can even reach down the root to the jawbone below the gum line. This type of fracture can cause intense pain and make simple tasks such as chewing, speaking, or sitting still difficult. This type of fracture can also affect the nerves within the tooth.

Oblique root fracture

While having a similar title to the other fractures listed above, an oblique root fracture occurs below the gum line and extends into the jaw. Unlike more minor fractures, this fracture will be extremely painful and require professional endodontic treatment.

Vertical furcation fracture

A vertical furcation fracture involves the tooth splitting and becoming two or more roots. This fracture will cause the patient pain and make it impossible to use the tooth for basic functions effectively.

Vertical apical root fracture

A vertical apical root fracture is a fracture directly down the middle of the tooth and root. This type of fracture can be painful and will require professional treatment. The treatment may involve root canal therapy to help the patient heal in some cases.

Vertical root fracture

If part of the tooth root breaks off, it is a vertical root fracture. The cause will often involve brittle roots due to nerve death in the tooth. In other cases, a previous root canal procedure that went wrong can also cause this type of fracture.

Do not wait to seek treatment

If you are struggling with any of these issues or pain in your mouth for no known reason, then seek professional care as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the worse the condition will get. If you are unsure about finding an endodontist in your area, visit a general dentist and ask for advice or recommendations.

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