When A Repaired Tooth Doesn't Stand The Test Of Time

The extent to which a damaged tooth can be restored is really quite impressive. But there can be limits to what a dentist can do. Even though a damaged tooth may have been repaired years ago, and this repair was seemingly successful, why would the tooth (and its surrounding tissues) slowly begin to cause discomfort?

Strategic Removal

Many types of dental restoration require the strategic removal of some of the tooth's overall structure in order to accommodate the restoration materials, essentially replacing some of the tooth's natural components with synthetic materials. Portions of the tooth's outer dental enamel can be removed, and the same goes for the underlying dentin. Your previous dentist may have undertaken the necessary repair work in good faith, thinking that this would be sufficient to restore the tooth, but sadly, this repair may not have stood the test of time.

Restoration Work

Over time, a tooth that has undergone extensive restoration work may begin to degrade. The removal of the tooth's natural structure weakened its overall strength, meaning that the tooth has been unable to withstand the bite pressure it's subjected to on a daily basis. It can also be that certain restoration materials, such as gutta-percha, have become compacted inside the tooth. All of these factors can culminate in a potentially serious dental complication known as a vertical root fracture.

Vertical Root Fracture

A vertical root structure starts at the base of the tooth, beneath the gumline, and extends vertically upward. Because of its position, it's problematic to treat or even diagnose. In many instances, the first sign is an infection of the tissues at the base of the tooth. This presents itself as pain when biting, which will become progressively worse. The infection also has the potential to spread. What happens when your dentist identifies a vertical root fracture?

Replacing the Tooth

Unfortunately, extraction is usually required when a tooth has succumbed to a vertical root fracture. The problem will only worsen, and any attempts at further restoration are only likely to yield temporary results. You should discuss dental implants as a means of replacing the extracted tooth, and this should happen as soon as is feasible after the extraction. The bone anchoring the tooth (the alveolar ridge) will lose density when it no longer needs to hold the tooth, and this means that bone grafting can be required to restore this density if you delay too long. The trick is to have the implant installed before the alveolar ridge undergoes any significant changes.

Some restorations won't stand the test of time, and when this has led to a vertical root fracture, a dental implant is generally your best bet. Contact a dentist for more information about dental implants.