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Dental and Oral Health Center

Fractured root

08/03/2006

Question:

There is a fractured root in my left upper first molar in the middle third of the mesiobuccal root. What is the treatment of choice? Root canal or extraction?

Answer:

If you wish to save the tooth, one treatment option would be to resect (remove) the fractured root and keep the remaining two. They should be strong enough to support the crown of the tooth as long as the rest of the bone and gums is healthy. The tooth is slightly compromised in this situation, and you will be required to do some special cleaning of the area with a special toothbrush, but the prognosis is generally good. Root canal therapy will be required on the other roots of the tooth in question. Simply doing root canal therapy on a cracked root will not resolve the problems associated with the crack.

If the fracture extends to the crown of the tooth or the area of the tooth where the roots divide (furcation) - there may be no solution other than extraction.

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Response by:

John M Nusstein, DDS John M Nusstein, DDS
Associate Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University