Root Resorption: Complications, Causes, And Treatment

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

As our bodies grow and change, so do our mouths. One process that happens when baby teeth grow out is called resorption, which is when your body resorbs the tissue that connects your baby teeth to your gums so that the teeth can fall out. However, root resorption is a rare yet severe condition in adults and can lead to decay and other complications. Here, we’ll look at root resorption symptoms, treatments, and what you can do to maintain excellent oral health.

What is Root Resorption?

When a tooth undergoes root resorption, the body’s immune system dissolves the tooth root structure. According to the Cochrane Library, root resorption can happen internally and externally and may lead to loosening or tooth loss. In terms of losing baby teeth, the process is the same: when a tooth is ready to fall out, the body gives the signal to have the bone between the new permanent tooth and the old baby tooth waste away along with the root of the baby tooth. Eventually, the baby tooth falls out, leaving a space for the new permanent tooth to erupt in its place.

Causes of Root Resorption

When root resorption happens outside of losing baby teeth, it’s likely due to tooth nerve or gum infection, tooth movement due to orthodontic treatment, impacted teeth, or chronic teeth grinding. However, in some rare cases, the cause is unknown. Root resorption symptoms can come in the form of pain, swelling, and loosening of your teeth. However, most cases are asymptomatic.

Dental professionals most often find root resorption in people between the ages of 21 and 30. This condition is also more prevalent in women than men. Systemic diseases and endocrine disorders, like hyperparathyroidism, Paget’s disease, calcinosis, Gaucher’s disease, and Turner’s syndrome, can also be contributing causes to root resorption. Rarely, root resorption is caused by pressure from a tumor.

Treatment for Root Resorption

Because there are so many specific causes, root resorption treatment is widely varied. Your dental professional will likely order imaging tests to understand your case better and how serious it is. For treatments, mild cases might involve treating symptoms such as swelling and pain relief. If you’re experiencing a more mild case, your dental professional may recommend treatment like a root canal or tooth extraction.

The best way to treat root resorption is to prevent it. Keep your regular dental appointments with your dental professional so they can catch dental problems early. Remember to keep up with good dental hygiene habits, including brushing twice daily with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth daily with floss, water flossers, or another interdental cleaning device.

It’s a fact: oral health issues happen. Luckily, the best treatment is early detection. The sooner you discover any oral health issues, the sooner you can get treatment from your dental professional—and get your smile back to its healthy, confident state.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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