What Happens if a Reabsorbed Tooth is Left Untreated?

If you have a chipped tooth or one that may break easily, you might suffer from a condition called external resorption. With timely detection, your dentist is able to repair your tooth and prevent future damage.

The Types of Tooth Resorption

Resorption is a condition that results in you losing pieces of a tooth. You could lose the outside of your tooth, called external resorption, or the inside of your tooth, called internal resorption.‌

Resorption can affect:
* The outside surface enamel.
* The dentin, or second layer.
* The cementum which protects the root.
* The living pulp at the center.‌
* The root itself.

‌External resorption happens more frequently than internal resorption. Decay usually happens from the outside in. It is a natural process the body uses to degrade your baby teeth, making room for your permanent teeth. When it affects your permanent teeth as an adult, it will cause long-term damage.

Your dentist may identify external resorption if you have holes or chips on the surface. If external resorption invades the interior, x-rays will point out that your roots and root tips are flattening.

Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Resorption

You may not experience any obvious symptoms. This is why regular dental care is so important. Your dentist will notice signs before you. Early detection is essential to addressing the condition and preventing additional damage to your teeth.

Frequent symptoms of external resorption include:
* Holes in a tooth that are not cavities.
* Cavities in a tooth.
* ‌Swollen, red, or inflamed gums.
* Irregular gaps occurring between your teeth.
* The tooth is pinkish or darker in color.
* Pain that radiates from inside the tooth.‌
* The tooth chips easily.‌

Leaving a Tooth Untreated with Resorption

If left untreated, external resorption will cause extensive damage to the tooth and gums. Complications include:

* Crooked teeth.
* An infection.
* Discoloration.
* Increased pain.
* A tooth with chips or holes.
* Losing the tooth.
* Gum recession.
* Weakness of the tooth.‌

External resorption is treated by repairing the immediate area of the tooth to prevent further damage. Dental procedures used to treat external resorption include:

* Restoring the damaged tooth with a crown.
* A root canal.
* A veneer or a dental implant.‌
* Extracting the damaged tooth.
* Gum surgery.

Risks of Tooth Resorption

Because resorption does not always have obvious symptoms, you may not even know you have resorption damage. You do not have any pain, and the damage can be out of sight.
External resorption is progressive, getting worse over time. The longer you wait, the worse the damage becomes. Some damage is repairable, other damage is not.‌
If the resorption tissue gets into your bloodstream, it can travel and affect other tissues.

Treating Tooth Resorption

Reviewing your dental history is important. Your dentist will compare any previous x-rays and notes to clarify your dental health. New x-rays will then identify specific damage, including the inside of your tooth and the roots.
When external resorption is diagnosed, the extent of the damage is determined. If just the root is affected, a root canal will remove all infected tissue and maintain the natural tooth structure. When just the outside is affected, the area can be easily repaired. As a last resort your dentist might have to extract the tooth. Now you can get an implant in place of your extracted tooth.

What is Tooth Resorption