Clinical and Radiographic Characteristics of Vertical Root Fractures in Endodontically and Nonendodontically Treated Teeth

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Abstract

Introduction:

A vertical root fracture (VRF) is a root fracture extending along the longitudinal axis of roots and is often noted in endodontically treated teeth. However, the clinical and radiographic characteristics of VRFs are not completely known.

Methods:

A total of 65 teeth with 68 vertical fractured roots in 58 Chinese patients were investigated. The clinical examination records and radiographic images were reviewed in detail.

Results:

A total of 24 male (41.38%) and 34 female (58.62%) patients aged 25–90 years (average = 57 years) were included; 51 (87.93%) and 7 (12.07%) patients exhibited 1 tooth and 2 teeth with VRFs, respectively, in the dentition. VRFs occurred mainly in the mesial root (20 roots, 57.14%) of the mandibular molars (29 teeth, 44.62%). Clinically, teeth with VRFs usually presented a periodontal probing depth >5 mm (44 teeth, 91.67%, P < .001) with a prosthesis (55 teeth, 84.62%, P < .001) and a relatively intact dentition (42 patients exhibited <4 missing teeth in the dentition, 77.78%, P < .001). Most of the nonendodontically treated VRFs exhibited attrited occlusal surfaces. Radiographic characteristics of the teeth with VRFs were typically associated with prior root canal treatment (56 teeth, 86.15%, P < .001), periodontal bone loss (62 teeth, 95.38%, P < .001), apical bone loss (52 teeth, 80.00%, P < .001), and periodontal ligament widening (61 teeth, 93.85%, P < .001). The mesial roots of the mandibular molars were most susceptible to VRFs in both endodontically and nonendodontically treated teeth.

Conclusions:

These results elucidated some clinical and radiographic and diagnostic features that facilitate VRF identification.

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