Your teeth can be damaged when you suffer trauma to the face, and while this damage can sometimes be immediately visible in the form of cracks, chips, or breaks, that isn't always the case. Only about one third of the tooth is visible, while the other two thirds, the root, is hidden from sight. Here's what you need to know about fractures of the roots.
What are the signs of root fractures?
It's possible for your tooth to look completely normal when the root is fractured; this is because the root structures are hidden from sight. Sometimes, there are outward signs as well. Your tooth may become discolored, turning either red from blood or grey from pulp death. You may also experience bleeding along the gum line of the injured tooth. The tooth can also feel loose in its socket.
If you think your root is fractured, see your dentist right away. He or she can take x-rays to confirm your suspicions, and then start treatment.
How are root fractures treated?
Treatment for root fractures is similar to the treatment for fractures elsewhere in your body. First, the dentist will re-position the tooth so that the fractured root is aligned properly. Next, a splint will be applied to hold the tooth in place while the root heals. You will need to wear it for at least four weeks, but sometimes for as long as four months, if the fracture is very serious.
After the healing period is over, your dentist will check your tooth to make sure that the fracture has healed properly, and to make sure that the pulp inside the root is still healthy. If the pulp isn't healthy, you will need to get a root canal, a procedure that replaces the diseased pulp with an artificial material.
Can the dentist save your tooth?
It's possible for teeth with fractured roots to be saved, so don't worry too much at first. You'll only need to have your tooth pulled if the fracture is very severe and the root can't be repaired with splinting and a root canal. Your dentist will let you know if your tooth is salvageable or not.
Root fractures are a serious dental injury, and if you think you have one, you need to see your dentist immediately. Getting prompt treatment makes it easier for your dentist to save your tooth, while if you wait, you could end up losing your tooth.
For more information, contact Penticton Dental Centre or a similar location.