Treatment Options for a Fractured Root Canal Tooth: Comprehensive Guide (2023)

Root canal-treated teeth that break off at the gum line pose complex dental challenges, often requiring decisive treatment choices. Our comprehensive guide delves into multiple treatment options available for addressing this dental concern, outlining each procedure's merits, potential drawbacks, and suitability based on varying conditions.

Extraction and Implant: The Gold Standard

  • Procedure Overview: An extraction followed by implant placement is a highly predictable and enduring solution for a fractured root canal tooth.
  • Timeline: The process spans 8-12 months, involving tooth removal, potential bone grafting, implant insertion, healing abutment placement, and crown attachment.
  • Pros: Exceptionally predictable outcomes, durability exceeding 10 years, a fixed replacement that mimics natural teeth.
  • Cons: Prolonged treatment duration, higher costs, temporary reliance on a tooth flipper during the healing phase.
  • Prognosis: Implants exhibit a success rate of approximately 95% over a decade, ensuring a substantial lifespan for the new tooth.

Extraction and Bridge: A Viable Alternative

  • Procedure Overview: This approach involves tooth extraction followed by the installation of a dental bridge, albeit requiring the alteration of adjacent teeth.
  • Timeline: Completion typically spans 3-4 months, encompassing impressions, temporary bridge placement, final tooth preparation, and bridge cementation.
  • Pros: Feels natural, long-lasting (10+ years), temporary bridge more comfortable than a flipper.
  • Cons: Process duration, necessity for crowning adjacent teeth, limitations in cleaning, potential cosmetic issues.
  • Prognosis: Dental bridges boast an 84% 10-year survival rate, representing a reliable and enduring solution.

Longer Post and Core: Minimal Intervention

  • Procedure Overview: This minimally invasive option involves extending the post and core within the tooth to enhance crown retention.
  • Timeline: Completed within 4 weeks, involving post preparation, core attachment, and crown placement.
  • Pros: Shortest treatment duration, cost-effectiveness.
  • Cons: Variable success based on fracture severity.
  • Prognosis: Offers a second chance for the tooth; success rates depend on fracture severity.

Crown Lengthening: Preserving Existing Structure

  • Procedure Overview: This method involves bone reduction to reveal more tooth structure for crown placement.
  • Timeline: Spans 3-4 months, including the crown lengthening procedure and subsequent core buildup and crown placement.
  • Pros: Preserves existing tooth structure, moderate cost, relatively quick treatment.
  • Cons: Potential teeth sensitivity, limited applicability for front teeth due to aesthetic concerns.
  • Prognosis: Offers longevity, particularly suitable for back molars and premolars.

Orthodontic Extrusion: Conservative Approach

  • Procedure Overview: Utilizes braces to extrude the fractured tooth, aiming to preserve and lengthen it for a new crown.
  • Timeline: Typically exceeds a year, involving the application of braces, post/core, and crown placement.
  • Pros: Conservative approach, preserves the tooth, provides an implant fallback.
  • Cons: High cost due to braces, extended treatment duration.
  • Prognosis: Less commonly pursued due to cost and extended treatment time.

Choosing the Ideal Treatment

Selecting the optimal treatment hinges on the severity of the fractured root canal tooth. Consultation with a dentist remains crucial to determine the most viable options considering prognosis and financial constraints. Nonetheless, extraction followed by implantation stands as a top-tier recommendation owing to its predictability and long-term success rates.

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