Identify and Treat Tooth Resorption Quickly for a Better Outcome

Don't let tooth resorption take your teeth

Tooth resorption is a relatively uncommon dental issue in adults. Also called dental resorption, it’s a process that causes teeth to weaken and eventually fall out. Fortunately, there are effective prevention and treatment options to deal with this condition.

Catching dental resorption early is the best chance for your smile.

What is tooth resorption?

Tooth root resorption is a naturally occurring process in children. However, it’s a serious issue when it occurs in adults. 

When the immune system works as it should, it starts to break down the roots of baby teeth when it’s time for them to fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth.

Sometimes, the immune system causes the same thing to happen to permanent teeth, leading to tooth root resorption in adults. The roots weaken, and the tooth will eventually fall out just like a baby tooth does—but there’s no natural replacement to take its place.

There are two different types of dental resorption: internal and external. Internal resorption takes place inside the tooth as tissue dissolves without any apparent symptoms.

External resorption is the more common form of dental resorption. It affects the exterior of the tooth and appears as holes or chips. This type of resorption can affect the roots or other parts of the tooth. If it only affects the roots, it can be difficult to spot because the only apparent changes may be below the gum line.

What causes resorption?

Tooth resorption is a case of a natural process being triggered at the wrong time. There are a variety of potential triggers that can start dental resorption, and in many cases, infection is to blame. Gum infection or an infection of the tooth nerve can trigger the process, prompting the immune system to begin tooth resorption.

Root resorption can also be triggered by a variety of physical conditions. Orthodontic treatment can sometimes cause tooth root resorption, as can issues like impacted teeth and chronic teeth grinding. A physical injury to the teeth can also lead to resorption.

The most common demographic for dental resorption is people between the ages of 21 and 30. The condition is more common in women than in men. In rare cases, tooth resorption is caused by underlying conditions like hyperparathyroidism, calcinosis, Turner’s syndrome, and Gaucher disease.

How can I prevent tooth resorption?

The best way to prevent tooth resorption is to engage in a healthy oral care routine that reduces the risk of underlying causes. Because infections are the most common cause, brushing and flossing regularly is very important. Oral care reduces the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, which can lead to infection.

In some cases, tooth root resorption doesn’t show any warning signs. In the case of internal root resorption, pain, discomfort, or other symptoms are unlikely to appear until the resorption has progressed and the tooth becomes loose. That’s why regular checkups play such an important role in dealing with tooth root resorption.

The resorption will only be visible through the use of dental X-rays. Your dentist will be able to identify the issue and take a more proactive course of treatment. Regular checkups also mean that underlying causes can be identified and treated before they trigger dental resorption.

How is resorption treated?

In many cases, a tooth can be saved if the issue is identified early on. Tooth root resorption is generally treated by addressing the underlying issue. Your family dentist will carry out an exam to identify the cause.

When signs of infection are present, dealing with the infection is the top priority. Treatment could include a root canal to address infection inside the tooth or one of several different types of gum surgery to treat gum disease.

If the resorption has progressed, then extracting the tooth may be necessary. After the extraction, there are multiple options for replacing the tooth, such as dental bridges and dental implants.

Even when dental resorption is treated effectively, it can leave the tooth with noticeable holes or a changed shape. Cosmetic treatments are commonly used to restore the appearance and function of the tooth.

Veneers are one option to restore the appearance of the tooth. A thin section of enamel is removed at the front of the affected tooth, and a bright and flawless replacement veneer is placed.

In other cases, dental crowns can serve as a tooth replacement. Material at the top of the tooth is removed to serve as a base for the crown. Dental crowns allow patients to retain the tooth roots while restoring the function and appearance of the tooth.

Get the best results by spotting resorption early.

Regular checkups from a family dentist here in Greensboro, NC, are the best way to prevent dental resorption. The team at Farless Dental Group will provide for all of your dental needs, from preventive care to cosmetic and restorative treatments. Contact us today to book your appointment. We can’t wait to see you.