Root canal treatment, or endodontic therapy, is a procedure that is designed to save the natural structure of an infected tooth. This is recommended when infection gets into the dental pulp, which is where the nerves and blood vessels are located. Dr. Afroz Burges often recommends this procedure as a first option to avoid extraction and replacement.
However, while this procedure does prevent extraction, it also weakens the tooth which means it is more likely to fracture. This is why a dental crown is recommended following root canal treatment to avoid further damage.
In this article, we’ll explain more about tooth fractures after root canal treatment including causes, what to do, and what to do while waiting to get to the dentist.
The primary cause of tooth fracture is devitalization, which is when damage/decay turns a tooth into an “eggshell”. Even when a tooth is filled following root canal treatment, the structure is weaker than if it were supported by the nerves and blood vessels.
Tooth fracture often occurs due to bruxism, trauma, or biting down too hard with the affected tooth.
Tooth fracture after root canal treatment is difficult to detect. Since the nerves and blood vessels have been removed, you may not feel any pain. If you do feel pain, the crack is likely severe and close to the gumline. This is why follow-up and regular dental check-ups are important- so that your oral health can be monitored.
However, there are a few symptoms that may indicate you have a fractured tooth after root canal treatment:
If your tooth breaks following root canal treatment, it’s important to contact an emergency dentist. Treatment depends on how the tooth was fractured.
In some cases, root canal retreatment may be appropriate. This will allow you to keep the natural tooth.
If your root canal treated tooth breaks at home, you should contact an emergency dentist for treatment. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may have to wait for an appointment. If the pain is not unbearable or there is no swelling or bleeding, you may have to wait.
In the meantime, you should avoid chewing on the affected tooth. Additionally, you should make sure to keep it clean and talk to your local pharmacy about a dental bandage to fill the hole.
Sometimes, tooth fracture is out of your control. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of tooth fracture:
If you have young children at home, teach them the importance of proper oral care and what they should do if something happens to their teeth.
The average cost of root canal treatment ranges from $1,000 to $1,600. If your tooth fractures after root canal treatment, root canal retreatment could range from around $500 to $1,500.
If the dentist can repair the tooth, the minimum cost will be around $100 for a composite dental filling. However, if you need a dental crown, the cost usually ranges from around $800 to $3,000.
In most cases, dental insurance will cover a portion of the original treatment as well as the retreatment or repair procedures.
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