Root Resorption


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Root resorption is a condition whereby your body attacks parts of a tooth.  This attack can be from either the tissues surrounding the tooth or the interior of the tooth itself.  The cells kill the root as if it is something newly introduced to the body, alike to a graft, and seek to remove it. 

External Root Resorption

This is more common than internal root resorption although the two are often confused.  External resorption occurs when there is damage to the exterior of the root caused by disease or impact to the teeth.  This can create irregularities with the cementum and inflame the area surrounding the tooth.

Internal Root Resorption

The cause of this is no certain but ideas are that trauma, Orthodontics, or extreme heat can affect the internal make-up of the tooth.

Root Resorption Symptoms

The main symptom will be that your tooth will become loose, much like a primary tooth that is about to fall out.  If this occurs the resorption will be quite well developed and it is likely that you will lose the tooth. Resorption is usually picked up when you have your regular X-rays taken as part of routine examinations.  You may not have noticed any problems with your teeth but the irregularities can be seen on an X-ray.  It is best diagnosed in early stages as sometimes the process can be slowed down through orthodontics. 

Root Resorption Treatment

With mild external resorption the area generally starts to heal naturally within two weeks with no help from the dentist.  If the tooth has been lost or seriously knocked then swelling of the tissues can continue and the area might need treatment. Sometimes when cases of resorption are mild the teeth involved can be moved using braces so that there is less chance of your body attacking them.In extreme cases of root resorption the tooth might have to be extracted.  This is because the rejection of the tooth cannot be halted, and instead you will be given an implant or fixture. 

Teeth can survive in the mouth for a long period of time despite root absorption, and often your dentist will not seek to remove or treat the tooth.  In these cases the tooth remains unless needed to support an additional fixture or fitting.  Then the stability of the tooth will be examined and a judgment made on whether it is strong enough to do this.  If not then it might need strengthening or removal, what your dentist decides to do is very dependant on your individual tooth.