How is a fractured tooth diagnosed?

  1. There are multiple ways to determine whether or not a tooth is fractured. It is important to start with a good dental history of the tooth.
  2. A clinical exam should include a bite stick, ice for vitality testing, and a periodontal probing to check for deep narrow pockets.
  3. A radiographic exam is important to check for periapical rarefactions or possibly to reveal a fracture itself if it is large enough.
  4. Finally, a stain (methylene blue), or trans-illumination may be used to visualize the fracture.
  5. Sometimes the tooth may be mobile or a sinus tract may have developed due to fracture necrosis.
  6. If a tooth is non-vital with minimal or no restorations, suspect a crack or fracture (Berman & Kuttler 2010).
  7. The older the tooth, the more susceptible it is to fracture (Berman & Kuttler 2010).
  8. Cracked teeth are more commonly found in lower molars, followed by maxillary pre- molars (Cameron 1976).
  9. Another study found that lower 2nd molars were more likely to have cracks after root canal treatment (Kang, Kim & Kim 2016).

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