What is Tooth Resorption?

Suppose your dentist has told you that you are experiencing tooth resorption. Now you probably have a lot of questions, not the least of which is what exactly does this diagnosis mean? Tooth resorption, though not a common dental term, is not as mysterious as it sounds. Resorption happens throughout your entire body due to a traumatic injury or just natural aging.

Resorption specifically refers to the inflammation and loss of the dentin of the tooth, the inner tissue under the enamel, or cementum, the outer layer covering the tooth's roots. There are two types of resorptions with treatments for each type.

Internal Tooth Resorption

A dentist will diagnose internal resorption when the dentin or cementum becomes absorbed into the tooth canal, causing the inner and outer surfaces of the tooth to become inflamed. When a tooth is injured, the tissue will become inflamed and absorbed into the tooth root. This process eventually causes a hollow tooth, which will become weak and susceptible to both damage and decay. Any injury to the tooth can cause internal resorption, which includes trauma, exposure to heat or chemicals, or bacterial invasion of the sensitive pulp at the center of the tooth.

A reddish tint to the tooth is the first sign of internal resorption. A dentist will then order dental images or X-rays of the hollow tooth to find dental lesions in the area affected.

External Tooth Resorption

External resorption is far more common yet similar to internal resorption and can still be challenging to diagnose as a separate issue and can even happen concurrently with internal resorption. Trauma to the tooth usually causes external resorption. Rapid orthodontic movement of the tooth, such as braces, or an infection of the gum space around the tooth are other causes. When the outside crown or root of a tooth is damaged, it can lead to infection, shifting teeth, tooth loss, and other mouth and jaw problems.

Treatment Options for Tooth Resorption

It is essential to seek help from your dentist as soon as you experience an injury or notice any resorption signs. Early detection is extremely beneficial for recovery. Treatment options for tooth resorption depend on the specifics of each case. Your dentist might decide to perform a root canal treatment and fill and seal the tooth. If the tooth resorption has advanced too far, they might even extract the tooth. In the initial stages of resorption, when the affected area is small, your dentist might expose the damaged area through minor gum surgery and remove the infected cells that are the cause of the damage.
Like so many dental issues, a terrific preventative measure is to consistently brush and floss your teeth daily while regularly visiting your dentist for professional cleanings and checkups. Resorption can occur even if you take diligent care of your teeth, especially from unexpected trauma or infection. If you participate in sports, an effortless way to prevent injury is to wear a mouthguard. If you do injure a tooth or notice any signs of infection, see your dentist immediately.

Can you Fix Tooth Resorption