Root Resorption: Complications, Causes and Treatment

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Resorption is the body's way of eliminating bone or other hard tissue structures. As the New Zealand Association of Orthodontists explains, resorption of the tooth root occurs when the body begins eating away at a tooth's root surface. This process is a normal and natural part of your baby teeth falling out. It can be problematic, however, when it occurs on permanent teeth.

Normal Root Resorption

During resorption, certain cells pass messages between bone and tooth, signaling for the tooth and bone structures to break down or rebuild. According to Dental Aegis, during physiological root resorption, 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.

Complications

An article in the European Journal of Dentistry explains that orthodontic treatment often triggers mild root resorption in permanent teeth. When you have braces, the orthodontist puts force on the teeth to guide them into a better position to improve your bite. The bone is remodeled to accommodate the moving tooth. If the shifting occurs too quickly, though, the tooth or bone may dissolve the roots when it really should have been altering the bone.

According to Dentistry IQ, if the roots dissolve too much in permanent teeth, there is a risk of the teeth becoming mobile or falling out.

Causes of Root Resorption

Various theories attempt to explain the process, yet resorption is one aspect of oral medicine that may not have a clear answer. The European Journal of Dentistry notes that resorption may be due to patient- or orthodontic-related factors. Resorption may be more likely to occur in patients with asthma, allergies, chronic alcoholism or severe malocclusion, among other reasons. Additionally, genetics, age and sex may have an influence. Orthodontic-related factors include the duration of orthodontic treatment, the amount of force exerted on the tooth and the direction in which the tooth is moving.

Treatment for Resorption

Since the exact cause of resorption is unknown, the best way to treat root resorption is to prevent it. According to Dentistry IQ, orthodontists should take periodic X-rays of a patient's mouth during treatment. If the roots begin to look too short, it's a sign that treatment should be altered. Extreme resorption is rare, but always keep your regular appointments with your dental professional so they can catch dental problems early. Remember to keep up with good dental hygiene habits, which includes brushing twice daily and flossing. Consider adding a mouthwash to your routine, such as Colgate Total Advanced Health, which removes 24x more bacteria for a healthier mouth.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.