Understanding Tooth Resorption
The human body can be a marvel when it comes to all it’s working parts. Each and every one affects the other in some way and for the most part, if all goes well, the body will work perfectly and be healthy. Sometimes, the human body goes through a process that’s called resorption which is when one part of the body absorbs another. This is natural and normal for the most part, but this isn’t the case when it comes to teeth.
Tooth resorption, what exactly is it anyway?
We already mentioned that resorption is when one part of the body absorbs another. And this definition can apply somewhat to teeth as well. You’d think that it meant one tooth absorbs the other, but when referring to tooth resorption, it actually means tooth loss via trauma, irritation, decay. Tooth resorption usually goes after the pulp or root, sometimes even the dentin.
The different types of tooth resorption
As with any health-related ailment whether big or small, there are different types. Tooth resorption is no exception. Even though when it comes to teeth, the issues that come up can seem pretty straightforward, there are actually two main ways that tooth resorption can vary in severity. The first way is known as internal, and the second way is external. The one that is most easily identified is external as you’ll be able to see the issue just by looking at it.
Tooth resorption on the inside
Tooth resorption on the inside of the tooth is known as the internal type. This doesn’t affect the outside of the tooth (although, that can happen down the line if left untreated) but it instead affects the tooth’s most vital part—the tissue. This form of tooth resorption is rare and needs to be diagnosed via x-rays. This type of rare tooth resorption can be caught easily but only if one keeps up with their routine checkups, as x-rays are usually part of them.
Tooth resorption on the outside
Tooth resorption that affects the outside is known as external tooth resorption and doesn’t require an x-ray to determine whether or not this tooth issue is present. This type is the more common of the two and can happen far more frequently. The way that you can see whether or not external tooth resorption is present is by looking for anything that looks like holes or cracks on the affected tooth. Teeth are supposed to be free of any spots, chips, cracks, or holes, and should be smooth instead. X-rays can and should still be done to determine whether or not external tooth resorption has occurred as it’s a far more definitive way of telling.
Babies and tooth resorption
Many people are usually surprised to hear even babies can suffer from tooth resorption. The misconception is that tooth resorption happens to those in older age due to things like cavities and natural decay over time. But this is false. Because tooth resorption can happen at any time and any age. And it can actually be far worse for permanent teeth as baby teeth will eventually fall out. So don’t be too alarmed if your young one has signs of tooth resorption. Be more conscientious of your own teeth first.
What are the causes of tooth resorption?
Tooth resorption can have many causes as one would expect and unfortunately, it’s still not widely understood by professionals. The common consensus is that tooth resorption happens via an injury to the tooth. But also, overall poor dental hygiene can be a cause as well. That’s why it’s not only important to get dental checkups but to also listen to your dentist and follow up with treatment like cavity removals, root canals, etc.
How to prevent tooth resorption
After learning about tooth resorption and its different types, the big question is just how does one prevent it? Prevention is always key to the health of teeth over time and in all reality, it’s prevention that should be the priority. Repairing teeth can not only be a time-consuming process but also an expensive one. The best way to prevent tooth resorption
How you can tell if you have tooth resorption
There are some symptoms to look out for when it comes to tooth resorption where you can tell at home without an x-ray. But it’s always important to see your dentist if you feel you may be suffering from tooth resorption or have any of the following symptoms.
- Tooth pain
- Reddish or pinkish gums where the pain is coming from
- Swollen or reddened gums
- Your teeth are becoming spaced apart
- Teeth that chip easily
- Holes that may look like cavities
How tooth resorption can get serious
If left untreated, tooth resorption can actually be pretty serious. When you don’t take care of it, the long-term issues that can occur range from tooth infections, teeth that rest crooked, tooth weakness, teeth that chip easily, teeth falling out, to receding gums. It may not seem like something that needs immediate attention, but a complication like a tooth infection can have serious, sometimes deadly outcomes.
Ways to treat it
Luckily, there is treatment for tooth resorption. First, your dentist will need to confirm that it’s what you have and that will be done via x-rays and an oral exam. Once it’s confirmed that you in fact have tooth resorption, your dentist will decide what the best course of action is in terms of treatment. Some treatment options include root canals, dental crowns, and or oral surgery. Your dentist is the only one that will make that decision. The treatment will be determined mainly by what part of the tooth has been affected.
It’s always important to practice preventive care and catch things like tooth resorption early. This can be done by brushing after meals, daily flossing, keeping up with your dental appointments, and having your teeth cleaned every six months. So don’t wait, call your dentist and book an appointment today. Your oral health matters!