Definition and clinical appearance
Root fractures are intraalveolar fractures involving dentin, cementum, and
the pulp. They are usually combined with extrusion injury of the coronal
fragment. The tooth appears elongated. Maxillary teeth are usually displaced
The tooth is very loose with bleeding from the gingival sulcus.
Response to pulp testing is often absent. Exceptions include cases with minimal displacement.
The tooth appears coronally displaced and loose. Occlusal interference is frequent. The condition is clinically indistinguishable from an extrusive luxation.
Clinical photographs showing extrusion of the coronal fragment.
Intraoral films will show the root fracture usually diagonal and located in
the apical, middle, or cervical third of the root, or combinations of these
(middle cervical). There is normally a fracture gap between the two fragments.
The magnitude of the fracture gap is decisive for subsequent wound healing. In
optimal situations hard-tissue bridging occurs. In less optimal situations
where a hard-tissue bridge is not formed, there will be interpositions of
periodontal ligaments between the fragments, resulting in hypermobility of the
coronal fragment. Nonhealing may occur due to formation of pulp necrosis
located in the coronal fragment which can be managed successfully with
The apical fragment is generally nondislocated.