The breakdown and synthesis of new structures is a process that the human body uses to maintain a healthy internal balance. Cells and organs all go through this process, and the cycle is especially prevalent in bones.  Root resorption is the breakdown of bone in teeth. Unfortunately, if the breakdown of healthy bone structure goes too far it can potentially be hazardous. In children, resorption is a normal function that enables baby teeth to fall out. In adults, resorption causes the body’s own cells to dissolve permanent teeth which can affect both the internal and external sides of teeth.  

Internal resorption can only be identified through radiographic imaging. It typically appears as a widening of the tooth’s canal walls and is often symptomless. It can occur in any tooth, but is most often seen in incisors. Regular dental exams and x-rays are essential to finding any internal resorption that may be occurring.  Root canal treatment is necessary, and resorption will end after the afflicted pulp is removed.

External resorption begins in the ligaments surrounding the root of the tooth.  Dentists can identify it through a radiographic image as an area overlaying the tooth’s canal root, and the canal outline is normal.  Trauma, force from orthodontic treatment, and pupal necrosis can all cause external resorption to occur.

The proper identification and diagnosis of resorption is essential for the appropriate treatment of the condition. If you have any dental concerns related to resorption, contact Smiles Unlimited Dentistry, P.C. for a full exam and consultation.