Split Tooth Syndrome
Dr. Winston Eaddy describes split tooth syndrome in his own words below:
I write this in hopes that it will help those of you with a split tooth understand your condition. It's important to provide you with a complete understanding of what is happening, your treatment options, and the prognosis for your tooth.
If your tooth breaks and separates with chewing, it is fractured. It may or may not be salvageable depending upon the size and depth of the fracture. However, it is usually obvious at the appointment what needs to be done and treatment recommendations will be presented. There are four treatment options for a fractured or split tooth.
1. We will extract the tooth if the fracture has destroyed it.
2. We will restore the tooth with or without a root canal.
3. If you chew and experience a sharp pain, your tooth is split and will eventually fracture. Small tooth splits enlarge with natural chewing. Larger splits will lead to root canal problems and the probable loss of your tooth. If you desire to save the tooth, then an early treatment approach is recommended when a diagnosis of split tooth syndrome is made. A temporary crown is placed around the split tooth to encase and protect it. If chewing becomes comfortable and remains so for 4- 6 months, and the gum tissue is sealed to the tooth and healthy beneath the tooth split, then the temporary crown can be converted to a permanent crown. However, there is always a possibility for a root canal problem to develop with a split tooth even after placing the permanent crown.
4. If the temporized tooth is not comfortable with chewing or becomes subject to aches or prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, then it has split deeply into the nerve and/ or the bone. The tooth will require a root canal in an attempt to save it. However, the issue becomes whether or not to do so. In years past, as long as the gum tissue was sealed beneath the split, I would recommend the root canal and crown. However, I have experienced a number of split, temporized, and symptomatic teeth treated with root canals that do not become comfortable or become comfortable after root canal and permanent crown placement and then become uncomfortable. These teeth can become problematic over time and may require removal and replacement with an implant and crown. I prefer not to proceed with this option unless the patient absolutely insists and assumes ownership of the treatment.
Dental implants have a very high rate of success – 95% or more – so that my recommendation for the temporized split tooth which remains symptomatic is removal and replacement with a dental implant. Occasionally, I have someone with a split temporized but symptomatic tooth who wants to try a root canal to save it. My experience is that if the root canal does not work, the patient regrets that I allowed them to proceed down a questionable treatment path. I hope this is of help to you and if you need further assistance or clarification, please schedule an appointment with me at the office.