A Root Canal

5 Things You Need To Know About Root Resorption

Root resorption occurs when your body eats away and then dissolves the cells that make up the roots of your teeth. This is a serious problem that can lead to tooth loss if it's not treated. Here are five things you need to know about root resorption.

What are the signs of root resorption?

There are often no signs of root resorption, but some people will experience pain or discomfort in the affected tooth. Some people also develop a pink spot on the affected tooth, and the tooth may become grey or black as the pulp within the tooth dies.

For people who don't show symptoms, the only way to diagnose this condition is through x-rays. This is why it's important to see your dentist regularly for checkups; your dentist will take routine x-rays during your visits and may notice the signs of root resorption in your images.

What causes root resorption?

There are two types of root resorption: internal and external. Internal resorption means that your roots are breaking down from the inside and the inner lining of the pulp chamber is affected. External resorption means that the outermost tips of your tooth roots are breaking down first. These two types of resorption have different causes.

Internal resorption is thought to be caused by inflammation within the tooth. This can happen if you have an untreated cavity that allows bacteria to enter the pulp of your tooth. The pulp becomes infected and swollen, and if it's not treated, may die.

External resorption has much different causes. This type of resorption seems to be caused by trauma, like cracking or breaking a tooth, as well as orthodontic movement, like getting your braces tightened. Cysts or tumors on your jawbone can also lead to root resorption.

How serious is root resorption?

Root resorption is a serious problem because it can lead to loss of your tooth. This can happen if too much of the root's structure is destroyed. Seeking prompt treatment can help you avoid this unpleasant situation.

Can dentists treat it?

It's possible for dentists to treat root resorption. The usual treatment for internal resorption is root canal therapy, a procedure you may already be familiar with. During this procedure, the damaged or dead pulp is removed and replaced with gutta percha, an artificial filling. This procedure stops the progression of internal resorption.

External resorption is harder to treat, but treatment is still possible. Your dentist will remove the damaged material at the root of your tooth and replace the missing tip of your root with an artificial material. If the resorption has reached the nerve, you will also need root canal therapy. If these treatments aren't successful, your tooth will need to be extracted.

How common is this condition?

Root resorption is considered rare because it's not often detected through x-rays or other diagnostic measures. However, one study found that root resorption may be quite common among damaged teeth. The researchers extracted thirty teeth, some that were completely healthy, and some that had pulp damage or pulp death. Once the teeth were pulled out, they were examined under microscopes for signs of root resorption. The study found that none of the healthy teeth had root resorption, while many of the damaged teeth did. Of the teeth with pulp damage, 50% showed signs of root resorption, and of the teeth with dead pulps, 77% showed signs.

Root resorption can cause pain, but it can also be asymptomatic, so routine visits to your dentist are the best way to identify root resorption. If you haven't had routine x-rays taken in a while, make an appointment for a checkup at a clinic like Schererville Family Dentistry, PC right away.