Reimplantation of an avulsed tooth is a well known and accepted treatment following a traumatic dental injury. Preservation of vital cells in the periodontal ligament allow reattachment of the tooth in the alveolar socket. Rates of success at 5 years reported in the literature ranges between 70% - 91% (1).
The main factors limiting the success of this treatment are the amount of time the tooth is out of the mouth, disruption of the periodontal ligament and bacterial contamination.
Although not common or well known, intentional removal and reimplantation of a tooth is an effective mode of treatment for teeth that cannot be treated with traditional endodontic surgery. This strategy can be particularly helpful in lower second molars where proximity to the mandibular nerve and thickness of the buccal bone make endodontic surgery difficult.
Intentional reimplantation allows the clinician to control the variables that would limit the success of a reimplantation following traumatic avulsion. Atraumatic extraction, minimal time out of the mouth and aseptic technique, allow a clinician to perform apical procedures that otherwise could not be performed.
Again, while not commonplace, intentional reimplantation is a treatment option that can be considered in special cases. It may offer your patient a final opportunity to retain a natural tooth, when endodontic surgery is not an option.
This case was actually an UNintentional, intentional reimplantation. Let me explain. This patient presented to our office with a bridge from #27 to #29. Significant buccal decay was present. The general dentist and the patient wanted to try and maintain this bridge.
Her dentist placed an amalgam root surface filling under the buccal margin of the bridge. A distal periapical radiolucency developed . I was then asked to complete the RCT on the tooth. Since the anterior abutment was loose, we decided that to remove the bridge, complete the endodontic treatment, and retrofit a post and core back to the bridge. Hardly an ideal restorative solution, but a solution that worked for the patient in her particular circumstance.
While attempting to remove the bridge, the entire tooth came out. At this point, this became an intentional reimplantation case.
Within a matter of minutes, we did a retroprep and MTA retrofill.
The anterior abutment of the bridge was then permanently cemented on and the posterior abutment re-implanted into the socket.
This patient returned last week for a 3 month re-evaluation. The tooth was sensitive for a while, but she now reports no sensitivity or swelling and she can now chew nuts on that side!
If you look closely you can see that the distal lesion has healed. While this is a very short term result, the healing of the apical lesion, lack of symptoms would indicate initial success. We will continue to monitor this tooth over time. Look forward to updates!