Root Canal and a Broken Tooth

Root Canal and a Broken Tooth

A severely broken tooth often requires a root canal to save it. Teeth usually become broken as a result of trauma to the face or biting on hard things like ice. Teeth that have been weakened by habits like teeth grinding or decay are more likely to get broken.

Minor breaks that only affect the outer layers of a tooth can be treated with fillings or composite bonding, but breaks that leave the pulp chamber compromised typically require a root canal and a crown. A tooth’s pulp chamber contains soft tissues like nerves and blood vessels. These tissues are vulnerable to oral bacterial and the acids they produce.

A tooth that is damaged to the point its pulp chamber has been opened up counts as a dental emergency and failing to get immediate treatment can leave a person vulnerable to infection. A root canal is performed to remove these soft tissues before they can become infected. Once a tooth has fully erupted, its nerve and blood vessels are no longer needed since it can get all the nutrients it needs from surrounding teeth. A root canal is typically the last option in an attempt to save a severely damaged tooth.

What to expect when getting a root canal for a broken tooth

Anyone with a severely broken tooth that leaves the soft tissues in the tooth visible or is accompanied by blood coming out of the inner layers of the tooth requires emergency dental care. Such injuries are often accompanied by excruciating toothaches that force most people to head right to the dentist.

The oral professional will examine the patient’s teeth to assess the extent of the damage. If a root canal is needed, the dentist will administer a shot of a local anesthetic to numb the area that will be worked on. A dental drill is used to make a small hole into the inner layers of the tooth. Dental files are shoved into the hole and used to extract the soft tissues in the tooth. The patient should not feel anything as the dentist works besides pressure from them pushing on the tooth.

Once the tooth has been emptied, medication is applied through the hole to prevent infection. A special filling material called gutta-percha is then used to close up the tooth. The damaged tooth is then prepared for a dental crown which might require removing some enamel from its sides. In some cases, the dentist might need to build up the tooth so it can be fitted with a crown. An impression of the prepared tooth is made and a temporary crown is placed on it.

The imprint is sent to a dental lab where oral restorations like crowns are made. The process takes about two weeks for the customized crown to be ready. During a second appointment, the temporary crown is removed, and the patient gets a customized crown placed on the affected tooth. The crown protects the tooth from further damage and keeps it together.

A root canal can save your broken tooth

Root canals are a straightforward procedure that can help to save severely broken teeth. Give us a call or stop by our Phoenix clinic to set up an appointment with our dentist.

Request an appointment here: or call Phoenix Family Dentistry at (602) 547-9007 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.


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