My husband was in an accident and two of his front teeth are broken. The roots are still down in the gums. I was wondering what his options are beyond a partial denture or a bridge? I was doing some research and was wondering if he is a root canal candidate to save the tooth and then get crowns. Any advice you have would be helpful.
-Janice in Idaho
Thank you for your question. The good news is that it is possible to save a broken front tooth. A root canal treatment is done to save the tooth when the dentist places a post in the canal. Then, the crown is placed on the post. This is all dependent upon how much of the natural tooth structure is remaining after the trauma to the tooth. Another factor that will need to be considered is what kind of bite your husband has. How his teeth come together will be important. Also, the philosophy of the dentist you see will be a factor too. This is because many dentists will not want to attempt the root canal on those front teeth. It takes an extremely high level of skill and ultimately, it is always possible that the root canal would fail and he would lose the tooth anyway.
Many dentists recommend dental implants to replace traumatized teeth. This is especially true if there isn’t a lot of natural tooth remaining or there are other complications with your husband’s case. Dental implants can be made to look just like your natural teeth, and they will function just like them too. Dental implants are a more permanent solution too. So, the dentist may determine that it is too risky to try to save the teeth.
Fixing a broken front tooth is tricky. One of the biggest issues is the rotational force on the tooth. The front teeth have a round root. If a round post is put into the root, the tooth becomes more susceptible to rotational forces on the tooth once it’s complete. These rotational forces can cause the tooth to loosen. In this case, it is possible that a dentist would place two posts in the root to combat this possibility.
Another tricky thing about fixing a broken front tooth is that the post can end up cracking the root. Logically speaking, the more rigid a post is you would think it would be stronger. But, when there are forces up against the tooth and the root, a rigid post will transfer them to deep inside the tooth to the root. This area is much thinner and the result can be a cracked root. So, sometimes a dentist may elect to use a flexible, carbon fiber or fiberglass post. This practice is done on front teeth.
So, to answer your question it is possible to restore the broken front teeth. However, you will need to find the right dentist who you can trust has the skill and right perspective to make a long-term fix. It may end up that an implant dentist is your best bet to have the teeth replaced. In this situation, it would be wise to seek multiple opinions. Then, you will be able to move forward with a treatment plan that you are most comfortable with since dentists have different attitudes about saving broken teeth.
Best of luck!
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Rick Lane, DDS.