What Happens if a Reabsorbed Tooth is Left Untreated?

If you have a tooth that is chipped or can break easily, you may suffer from a condition called external resorption. With early detection, your dentist can repair your tooth and prevent future damage.

The Types of Tooth Resorption

Resorption is a condition that causes you to lose pieces of your teeth. You might lose the outside of your teeth, called external resorption, or the inside of your teeth, called internal resorption.‌

Resorption can affect your:
* The outside enamel.
* The second layer or dentin.
* Cementum protecting the root.
* The interior, living pulp.‌
* The root.

‌External resorption is more frequent than internal resorption. Decay most often happens from the outside in. It is a natural process your body uses to degrade your baby teeth in your youth, making room for your permanent teeth. When it affects your permanent teeth, it can cause long-term damage.
Your dentist might suspect external desorption if you have holes or chips on the surface of a tooth. If external resorption begins to invade the interior, X-rays will identify that your roots and root tips are flattening.

Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Resorption

You may not, at first, experience any obvious symptoms. Which is why regular dental care is so important. Your dentist might notice some signs before you. Early detection is crucial to addressing the health condition and preventing additional damage to your teeth. Common symptoms of external resorption include:

* Cavities in a tooth.
* Holes in a tooth that are not cavities.
* ‌Red, swollen, or inflamed gums.
* Irregular gaps between your teeth.
* The tooth is unusually dark or pinkish in color.
* Pain that radiates from inside the tooth.‌
* The tooth chips easily.‌

Leaving a Tooth Untreated with Resorption

When left untreated, external resorption can cause extensive damage to a tooth and gums. Complications include:
* Crooked teeth.
* Discoloration.
* A tooth with chips or holes.
* Loss of the tooth.
* Gum recession.
* Increased pain.
* Weakness of the tooth.‌
* An infection.

External resorption is easily treated by repairing the affected area of your tooth to prevent further damage. Dental procedures that can treat external resorption include:
* Extracting the damaged tooth.
* Restoring a damaged tooth with a crown.
* A root canal.
* A dental implant or veneer.‌
* Gum surgery.

Risks of Tooth Resorption

Because the condition does not always have obvious symptoms, you might not even know you have resorption damage. You might not feel any pain, and the damage can be out of sight if you do not notice it.
External resorption is a progressive disease, meaning that it worsens over time. The longer you wait, the worse the damage is. Some damage is repairable, other damage is not.‌

If the resorption tissue spreads into your bloodstream, it can travel and affect other teeth and gum tissues.

Treating Tooth Resorption

Your dental history is important. Your dentist will compare previous X-rays and notes to determine your dental health. New X-rays will identify specific damage, including the inside of your tooth and the roots.

Once external resorption is diagnosed, the next step is determining the extent of the damage. If only the root is affected, a root canal will remove infected tissue and restore the root structure. When just the outside of your tooth is affected, the area can be repaired. If your tooth does not respond, your dentist might extract the tooth. Now you have the option to get an implant in place of your extracted tooth.

What is Tooth Resorption