Crown-root fracture without pulp involvement- Treatment Guidelines

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Localization of fracture line

  • The fracture involves the crown and root of the tooth and is in a horizontal or diagonal plane. A radiographic examination usually only reveals the coronal part of the fracture and not the apical portion
  • A cone beam exposure can reveal the whole fracture extension

Emergency treatment

  • As an emergency treatment a temporary stabilization of a loose segment to adjacent teeth can be performed until a definitive treatment plan is made

Definitive treatment

Depending on the clinical findings, six treatment scenarios may be considered. Most of these may be deferred to later treatment.

  • Fragment removal only
    Removal of a superficial coronal crown-root fragment and subsequent restoration of exposed dentin above the gingival level.
  • Fragment removal and gingivectomy (sometimes ostectomy)
    Removal of coronal segment with subsequent endodontic treatment and restoration with a post-retained crown. This procedure should be preceded by a gingivectomy, ostectomy with osteoplasty. This treatment option is indicated in crown-root fractures with palatal subgingival extension.
  • Orthodontic extrusion of apical fragment
    Removal of the coronal segment with subsequent endodontic treatment and orthodontic extrusion of the remaining root with sufficient length after extrusion to support a post-retained crown.
  • Surgical extrusion
    Removal of the mobile fractured fragment with subsequent surgical repositioning of the root in a more coronal position. A rotation of the root (90 or 180) may offter a better position for periodontal ligament healing. Because the fracture site becomes exposed labially and thereby more periodontal ligament can be saved (see reference 9)
  • Decoronation (Root submergence)
    Implant solution is planned, the root fragment may be left in situ after in order to avoid alveolar bone resorption and thereby maintaining the volume of the alveolar process for later optimal implant installation
  • Extraction
    Extraction with immediate or delayed implant-retained crown restoration or a conventional bridge. Extraction is inevitable crown-root fractures with a severe apical extension, the extreme being a vertical fracture

Timing of treatment

All of the treatment modalities (except extraction) are technique sensitive and do not need to be performed during the acute phase. Instead, the coronal fragment can be temporarily bonded to the cervical portion of the tooth with a composite or resin. This may add to the comfort of the patient until final treatment. Prognosis will not be influenced by delay of treatment within a time frame of one to two weeks.


Procedure Indications Advantages Disadvantages
Fragment removal only Superficial fractures (chisel-type fractures). Easy to perform. Definitive restoration can be completed soon after injury. Long-term prognosis has not been established.
Fragment removal and gingivectomy (sometimes ostectomy). Fractures where denudation of the fracture site does not compromise esthetics (i.e. fractures with palatal extension). Relatively easy procedure. Restoration can be completed soon after injury. The restored toothThe restored tooth may migrate labially due to formation of a pseudo-pocket palatally.
Orthodontic extrusion of apical fragment. All types of fractures, assuming that reasonable root length can be achieved after extrusion. Stable position of the restored tooth. Optimal gingival health. Time consuming procedure with late completion of final restoration.
Surgical extrusion of apical fragment. All types of fractures (except crown-root fractures in young teeth with open apices where vitality should be preserved) assuming that reasonable root length can be achieved. Rapid procedure. Stable position of the tooth. The method allows inspection of the root for additional fractures. Limited risk for root resorption and marginal breakdown of the periodontium.
Decoronation Can be used in cases where the root cannot support a post-retained crown restoration. Preserves the alveolar process. Postpones definitive restoration.
Extraction Extraction in cases of extensive deep crown-root fractures None Tooth loss

Patient instructions

  • Soft food for 1 week
  • Good healing following an injury to the teeth and oral tissues depends, in part, on good oral hygiene. Brushing with a soft brush and rinsing with chlorhexidine 0.1 % is beneficial to prevent accumulation of plaque and debris.


6-8 weeks and 1 year.

Dental Trauma Guide 2010 - produced in cooperation with the Resource Centre for Rare Oral Diseases and Department of Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgery
at the University Hospital of Copenhagen - Last edited the 07-01-2014.