What is root Resorption? How we proactively address this destructive process

A “root” in dental circles refers to the part of the tooth that is embedded in the jaw and that holds a tooth in place. “Resorption,” in the dental context, refers to the loss or breakdown of oral tissues. You may have heard the term used when discussing the loss of bone in the jaw once overlying teeth, too, are lost. Led by Dr. Brad Sievert, Westlake Family Dentistry of Lake Oswego, Oregon, takes a proactive approach to root resorption. We will monitor this damaging process and recommend interventions based on the specific causes of resorption.

The “basics”

Among baby teeth, root resorption is actually a natural process and part of healthy oral development. The process is triggered by your immune system, which degrades the roots’ structure. With baby or primary teeth, the child’s body sends signals that trigger the loss of bone residing between the older baby tooth and the newer permanent one that is trying to come in. As this process is triggered, the root also wastes away with the rest of the tooth. Among adults with secondary or permanent teeth, root resorption may occur due to neural or periodontal (gum) infections.

Additionally, resorption may arise due to tooth repositioning during straightening or orthodontic and bite correction treatments. Still, other instances of root resorption include those associated with impacted teeth (teeth that become partially or fully trapped underneath the gums and in the bone as they try to erupt). Impaction is most commonly associated with wisdom teeth. Chronic teeth grinding (bruxism) has also been implicated in the development of resorbed roots. Systemic and hormonal diseases can also play a contributing role. Sometimes, we don’t even know what exactly sets off this process. It can be idiopathic in nature.

Likewise, resorption does not always cause troublesome symptoms, such as swelling, pain, or teeth that shift or are loose in your mouth. In fact, more often than not, the condition is “silent.” This facet of root resorption underscores the need for routine visits to our office. During these visits, we can pinpoint problems like resorption using advanced diagnostics. Without such detection, the condition would continue to progress and lead to worsening effects and consequences to the health and function of the affected teeth.

Personalized treatment

Because this condition manifests in so many different ways and has so many different causes, treatment can vary considerably from person to person. More mild cases might involve addressing symptoms such as swelling with appropriate pain relief, whereas more extreme cases may require restorative intervention such as root canal therapy followed by a dental crown. Prevention is always an excellent course of action. If other disorders are thought to play a role, it is important to manage those comorbidities. Additionally, during your regular checkups, we can also advise on modifications to hygiene techniques or oral care products to make it easier to effectively keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.

Do not delay to get the proactive care that you need to be healthy. Schedule your appointment today by calling us at (503) 636-4576.