Dental implants are the best tooth replacement option. But they’re still not quite as good as maintaining your natural teeth (in most cases). Hopeless teeth might be best removed. Unfortunately, there are many situations where we just can’t save a healthy but damaged tooth and have to extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant. One common situation where this happens is with a fractured tooth. Sometimes this means that you lose a tooth which, but for a single defect, could potentially last a lifetime.
Now researchers think they have discovered a way to save more of your natural teeth and reduce the need for dental implants to replace mostly good teeth. These dentists have developed a technique for dealing with certain types of fractured teeth in order to preserve them.
A Fractured but Otherwise Healthy Tooth
The subject in this case study has a split molar tooth that was otherwise healthy. It had not received a filling or other restorative treatment in the past. The tooth was cracked sideways with a single crack running through the biting surface of the tooth all the way from front to back. The tooth was very sensitive, and caused intense, lasting pain at any contact.
The normal treatment for this type of tooth would be to remove a significant portion of it or simply extract the entire tooth. However, in this case, researchers thought they could save the tooth with their new technique.
Repairing a Split Tooth
Researchers started the repair by sealing the pulp chamber within the tooth. Most of the pulp was removed and the root canals blocked with a plug.This is critical to protecting the tooth nerve from sensitivity and infection. At this point, they also adjusted the tooth so it didn’t get as much pressure from biting and chewing.
Then they used composite resin to fill and stabilize the interior of the tooth. Finally, they placed a dental crown on the tooth, completing the restoration. They also gave the patient some training in proper oral hygiene to make sure they could treat the tooth properly after repair.
Three Trouble-Free Years
To see how well the repaired tooth held up, researchers had the patient check in every six months for the next three years before publishing their results. During this time, the patient experienced no problems with the repaired tooth, and x-rays as well as visual examination of the tooth showed no problems. In part, researchers noted, the man’s success was due to good oral hygiene following treatment.
However, they also noted that this treatment approach could give dentists an alternative to dental implants when a tooth has only a single defect.
Preserve Your Teeth in Columbia, SC
While this new technique is still experimental and may not prove to be widely used, it does give us more options for repairing damaged teeth. We are happy whenever we can preserve your natural teeth to give you a mouth that is healthy over the long term.
If you want to learn whether a damaged tooth can be saved or needs to be extracted, please call (803) 781-9090 today for an appointment with implant dentist Adam Hahn at Smile Columbia Dentistry.