Learning More About Root Absorption And Your Dental Health

Have you developed a small hole in one of your front teeth, near the gumline? If so, you may be looking a rare condition described as external cervical resorption, commonly called root absorption. In some cases of root absorption, your tooth may not be fit to save. However, in some other cases, your dentist may be able to save your tooth. Learn more about the risk factors and treatment options available for teeth suffering from root absorption. 

What Is Root Absorption?

While researchers and dentists are not exactly sure what causes root absorption in adult teeth, they have begun to see it occur in some groups of people. For example, teeth that have suffered trauma to the periodontal ligament can develop root absorption. The periodontal ligament holds teeth to the jawbone and when it is torn or otherwise damaged, it can signal the start of root absorption. Bruxism, or tooth grinding, can also cause damage to the periodontal ligament that can lead to root absorption. Some other risk factors for root absorption include:

  • Extreme force used during orthodontic treatment

  • Intra-coronal tooth bleaching

However, despite these risk factors, the development of root absorption in adult teeth is rare.

What Are The Treatment Options Available For Root Absorption?

If the hole, also called a lesion, is still small enough to repair, your dentist can perform minor periodontal (gum) surgery for filling it in. However, in some cases, orthodontic treatment may be required for the affected tooth to pull it away from the bone. As the tooth is slowly moved away, new bone is formed while new gum tissue cells also grow. Once the affected tooth has been moved to the gum line, your dentist can perform periodontal surgery for making final repairs, filling in the hole in your tooth with a special cement.

Your dentist may also recommend a root canal for a tooth affected by root absorption. A root canal is only done when the absorption has reached the dental pulp in your tooth. If root absorption makes it through the pulp to the nerves, you can experience severe pain, similar to the pain associated with a cavity that has exposed the nerves. Bear in mind if root absorption has reached the nerves and is too advanced, your dentist will extract the tooth. You can have an extracted tooth replaced with a dental implant so you will still have chewing and cosmetic benefits.

No matter what may have led to your rare occurrence of root absorption, visiting your dentist (such as Samuel D Knight, DDS) as soon as you notice it is vital for getting the treatment that can save your tooth. If you notice a tiny hole in any of teeth, especially near the gum line, make an appointment to visit your dentist right away.