If your dentist recently told you during your routine check-up that you have a calcified tooth, you may have a lot of questions. If you're worried about what it means and whether it can cause problems in the future, know that this tooth condition isn't usually cause for alarm. However, you may still wonder how it happened in the first place. Here are all the details on what this term means and what treatment might be involved.
According to an article published in the International Journal of Health Sciences (IJHS), published by Qassim University in Saudi-Arabia, this common condition is known by several intimidating names, including calcific metamorphosis and pulp canal obliteration. This issue occurs when a tooth experiences trauma and the root canal space, which normally contains the pulp, fills with hard calcified tissue. As the South African Dental Association (SADA) notes, dental trauma can result from an accident or sports injury, and treatment options will vary on a case-by-case basis.
As an article in the International Journal of Morphology (published by Universidad de la Frontera, Chile) explains, up to 24% of traumatised teeth develop calcific metamorphosis that partially or completely calcifies the root canal space. Calcification in the root canal chamber may not be detected for a year or more after the injury occurred.
When a tooth becomes calcified, its outer appearance may change. As a case report published in EC Dental Science explains, a calcified tooth can appear darker in colour than the surrounding teeth and can become yellow. Often, calcific metamorphosis does not have any other symptoms, which makes it all the more important to have regular examinations from a dental professional to potentially detect this condition as early as possible.
When a dental professional takes an X-ray of a tooth with calcification, they may notice its abnormal appearance. As an IJHS review explains, the X-ray may show that the pulp chamber is either hardly visible or not visible at all. The canal itself may also appear significantly narrower or not visible because of the build-up of calcified tissue.
As long as the calcification doesn't cause any other problems in the otherwise healthy tooth, this condition may not require any treatment, according to the IJHS review. However, if you're concerned about tooth discolouration, a dental professional may be able to provide bleaching treatment to restore the tooth's colour.
If the inner pulp in a calcified tooth becomes damaged, it may require root canal treatment. This procedure can be difficult to complete, because the canal can be hard to locate when there is calcification present. Because of this, you may need to have an endodontist perform the treatment, as they specialise in root canals and tooth-saving treatments.
If you ever experience an injury that involves trauma anywhere near your mouth, make sure to notify your dentist as soon as possible. Hopefully, the area will heal properly and you won't experience any long-term problems. However, if complications do arise, such as tooth calcification, your dental professional will be fully prepared to recommend the appropriate treatment.