Root resorption

Root resorption refers to the loss of tooth structure in the form of dentin and cementum along the root surfaces. This process can be physiological, occurring as a normal part of tooth development, or pathological, resulting from various conditions or diseases. There are two main types of root resorption: internal resorption and external resorption.

What is Root Resorption?

Root resorption is a process in which the root structure of a tooth is broken down and absorbed by the body. This can occur as a normal part of the development of primary (baby) teeth, where the roots are naturally resorbed to allow for the eruption of permanent teeth. However, when root resorption affects permanent teeth later in life, it is usually considered pathological and can lead to dental problems.

Internal Resorption: This occurs within the tooth, usually in response to inflammation or infection within the pulp (the innermost part of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels). Internal resorption can weaken the tooth structure and, if left untreated, may result in the loss of the affected tooth.

External Resorption: This occurs on the outer surface of the tooth root. External resorption can be caused by various factors, including trauma, orthodontic treatment, periodontal disease, or other pathological conditions. In external resorption, the tooth’s root surface is gradually broken down, and this can also lead to tooth loss if not addressed.

Symptoms of Root Resorption

Tooth Sensitivity: Patients may experience increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.

Pain and Discomfort: Persistent pain or discomfort, especially while chewing or biting, may occur.

Swelling and Inflammation: Inflammation of the gums around the affected tooth might be observed.

Change in Tooth Color: The affected tooth may appear darker than the surrounding teeth due to changes in the pulp.

Loose Teeth: As root resorption progresses, the affected tooth may become loose.

Gum Recession: Receding gums may expose the roots of affected teeth.

Causes of Root Resorption:

A. Internal Root Resorption

Trauma or Injury: Previous dental trauma, such as a blow to the face, can trigger internal root resorption.

Pulpitis or Infection: Inflammation or infection of the dental pulp can lead to resorption.
Orthodontic Treatment: Certain orthodontic procedures, especially those involving excessive force, can contribute to internal resorption.

B. External Root Resorption

Trauma: External root resorption can be a consequence of physical trauma to the tooth or surrounding structures.

Inflammatory Processes: Infections or inflammatory conditions in the surrounding tissues, such as periodontal disease, can lead to external root resorption.

Orthodontic Treatment: Improperly applied orthodontic forces can cause external root resorption.

Impacted Teeth: Teeth that are impacted or erupting improperly can induce resorption of adjacent roots.

Tumors or Cysts: Certain tumors or cysts in the jawbone can contribute to external root resorption.