One of my bottom front teeth split in a sports accident last week. My dentist says it is tooth #23. It was late evening when I had an accident, so I saw my dentist the following day. She says that she cannot save the tooth, but she recommends a bone graft and a small dental implant to replace it. The tooth is healthy other than the split. Could you let me know if a dental implant is the only option for a split tooth? Thank you. Alexander
Thank you for your question. Although it is possible to save a tooth with a vertical fracture, few dentists understand how to do it or attempt it. You are unlikely to find a dentist willing to try to save it.
Saving a Vertically Split Tooth
If a vertical crack occurred no more than several days ago, some dentists may try to save it with these steps:
- Fit the two halves of the tooth together perfectly
- Stabilize and bond the tooth
- Hold the two pieces together with a crown
- Follow-up and check the tooth for the long term
Although your dentist does not think saving your tooth is an option, you can get a second opinion from a specialist.
Dental Implant for a Vertically Split Tooth
A dental implant is a safe, predictable way to replace your vertically split tooth if a specialist cannot save it. Lower central incisor teeth are small. A periodontist can use a small diameter implant to fit in the space if you require extraction. A periodontist selects implants to fit precisely in the space of a missing tooth.
In conclusion, if your tooth is vertically split, you can choose to accept your dentist’s recommendation for a dental implant. Or you can get a second opinion from a specialist (endodontist).
Dr. David Pumphrey, an Atlanta periodontist, sponsors this post.