What Does A Crack In The Tooth Root Mean?
If you notice a crack in the root of one of your teeth or your dentist tells you that you have one, you might be rather concerned. What does having a crack in the tooth root mean for you? It's a serious dental condition that needs treatment as soon as possible.
What is a Tooth Root Crack?
Also called a root fracture, a crack in your tooth's root occurs when the tooth has been cracked, broken, or otherwise compromised, and it extends from the chewing surface down into the root of the tooth below the gumline. These cracks can be problematic, in part because they often aren't noticeable on routine dental exams or dental X-rays.
Root fractures can happen due to the following:
- Trauma: Teeth are strong but can only stand up to so much force. A strong impact or injury, such as a blow to the face, can cause trauma to teeth, including a root fracture.
- Weakened Tooth: If you have teeth that have received extensive dental treatments, like root canal therapy, they can become more fragile and, therefore, susceptible to damage, including root fractures.
- Bruxism: Teeth grinding or clenching, especially if severe and persistent, will put substantial pressure on the teeth, possibly causing root fractures over time.
- Chewing on Hard Objects: Frequent chewing on hard objects, including ice, pens, or fingernails, frequently weakens the tooth structure and increases the risk of chipped or damaged teeth as well as root fractures.
- Natural Wear and Tear: It's normal for your teeth to experience wear and tear over time. Unfortunately, this wear and tear might contribute to the development of root fractures, especially in older individuals.
Symptoms of a Tooth Root Fracture
Tooth root fracture symptoms aren't always apparent or can even mimic other dental problems. Common signs and symptoms of a root fracture you should be aware of include:
- Pain: The pain may come and go or be constant, depending on the extent and position of the fracture.
- Sensitivity to Temperature: Your tooth may be sensitive to hot or cold temperatures. For example, drinking hot coffee or tea or eating ice cream might be particularly uncomfortable or even painful.
- Swelling or Tenderness: The gum around the affected tooth may sometimes become swollen or tender.
- Discoloration: The tooth with a root fracture might look discolored or darker than your other teeth.
- Instability: The tooth can also feel loose or unstable.
- Abscess Formation: A root fracture can sometimes cause an abscess to form. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket at the tooth's root, causing severe pain and swelling.
Root Fracture Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing a root fracture can be difficult, as the signs and symptoms aren't always definitive. Your dentist will usually complete a thorough examination, including taking dental X-rays and possibly using additional diagnostic tools, to confirm or rule out the presence of a root fracture.
The extent and location of the fracture will dictate the treatment options available. Sometimes, your dentist can perform a root canal procedure to remove the fractured part of the root and alleviate pain. However, suppose the fracture is extensive or involves the root tip. In that case, tooth extraction may be the best or even only option.
Do You Have a Tooth Root Crack? Forest Lake Endodontics Can Help
If you suspect you have a root fracture or are experiencing any dental pain or discomfort, seek prompt evaluation and treatment from one of our qualified dentists. Keep in mind that early detection and appropriate management will help preserve your tooth and prevent further complications.