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Fixing a broken front tooth on a 12-year-old

My grandson recently had a bicycle accident and his front tooth was broken. Broken in the gum area. He currently has a splint on the 2 teeth surrounding it and this broken one. The dentist is saying that her next step is to have his tooth removed and put a flipper on it. He is only 12yrs.old and I am concerned that there could possibly be some alternative to saving/repairing the tooth instead of replacing it. It has been approx. 5 or 6 weeks since the occurrence. He is having no problem with the tooth right now with the splint on it. Could the broken tooth possibly fuse on it’s own over time? Is it too soon to determine if the tooth will die or not?
– Candace from New Hampshire

I’m not sure I understand exactly the situation here. I think you are saying that the root of the tooth is fractured and that this fracture is down in the bone where it can’t be seen.

Usually when the root of a front tooth is fractured down in the bone like this you can’t save the tooth. In some cases, if the fracture is close enough to the root tip, the root tip could maybe be surgically removed and the rest of the tooth could be saved by doing a root canal treatment. But that would be tricky. Only in very rare circumstances would the broken root fuse back together.

How this tooth is replaced is also a concern. And on a twelve-year-old boy, this is also tricky. A dental implant will probably be the most esthetic tooth replacement, but generally we don’t put in dental implants for front teeth in young people until the jawbone has finished growing, which can be around age 18-20. This is to make sure that the companion natural tooth and the dental implant are the same height. If the bone continues to grow after the implant is placed, the natural tooth will move with the bone and the implant will stay in the original position.

When your grandson gets this all fixed, it will also be important to have the replacement tooth, or the repaired tooth, match his existing natural tooth exactly in shape, color pattern, and translucency. This is no easy task, even for an experienced cosmetic dentist. If it were my son or grandson, I would want the very best cosmetic dentist I could find to help with this. It might cost 10-25% more, but it would be worth it to have this looking good and not have it be an embarrassment to him.

Links – This posting comes from the office of your Naperville dentist, Dr. David Newkirk. A broken front tooth would be classified as a dental emergency, and if you called our office, we would see you that day to evaluate it and see what we could do.