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Can a Split Tooth Be Saved?

Posted by writeradmin

I have a split tooth with a vertical fracture. It is an upper front tooth (#4). The tooth is otherwise completely healthy but when I went to see my dentist he said there was no possible way to save the tooth. Instead, I would need to extract it and get bone grafting and a dental implant placed. I am writing you to see if there is any possibility that the tooth can just be repaired. I hate to lose a healthy tooth and my dentist does not even seem willing to entertain the idea.


Dear Amelia,

Woman covering her mouth

I appreciate that you want to save your tooth if at all possible. That is always the best option. The current consensus is that a split or fractured tooth cannot be saved. There is, however, one exception. Unfortunately, not many dentists are even aware of it yet. In 2004, the Colorado Dental Journal published some research, led by Dr. David Hall,  that showed it was possible to save a split tooth. In science, research has to be duplicated before it is accepted, so for many years that research made no headway as no one tried to duplicate it. Then, in July of 2015, a research team from India duplicated this research. Hopefully, another American research team will pick this up as well so we can start getting this knowledge accepted and put into practice.

In order for the saving procedure to work for a vertical fracture, it was imperative that the two pieces were fit back together perfectly and stabilized in that position. For this to happen, you would have had to get there almost immediately. This is the case with other dental emergencies too, such as a knocked out tooth. Within thirty minutes is the ideal time to get there and have the best chance of saving your tooth.

That being said, given that you’ve written me after an appointment that means you will no longer be able to save the tooth. Don’t despair though. Dental implants are fantastic tooth replacements. They are the closest thing to having a healthy, natural tooth in your mouth again. The only thing I would warn you about is the fact that it is a visible tooth when you smile. You will want to make sure whoever does your dental implant is a skilled cosmetic dentist so that the implant crown will look natural and blend with the adjacent teeth.

This blog is brought to you by Arnold, MD Dentist Dr. Esposito.