Dental Resorption

Tooth Resorption – Do I Need A Tooth Extraction?

Picture this. Despite years of vigilantly caring for your oral health, you find out that you have a loose tooth. Not just that, but you have a loose tooth that must be extracted. How could this happen? One reason may be tooth resorption. Simply, this means that your body reabsorbs minerals in your tooth, essentially wearing down your tooth and putting its stability at risk. Typically, this is a slow process that is monitored in five year increments with little to no treatment required. However, it is important to understand tooth resorption and why some patients may need a tooth extraction. 

Internal Vs. External Tooth Resorption

There are two main differences in tooth resorption, classified as internal and external resorption. In this post, we will explain both and how they can affect your oral health. First, let’s start with the basic anatomy of the tooth. A tooth has three main parts of the tooth, starting from the outside of the tooth to the inside of the tooth, the enamel, dentin, and root canal


Internal Resorption 

During internal resorption, dentin and cementum, which is a thin layer between the enamel and dentin, is reabsorbed into the root canal of the tooth. The large, inflamed cells from the dentin and cementum are reabsorbed into the root canal causing the tooth to show a pink hue. This is the tooth’s way of showing the damage and inflammation below the surface. As this process continues, the tooth slowly hollows out from the inside. Without a strong root to hold the tooth in place, the tooth becomes loose. Often, depending on the stage of resorption, the best treatment is a tooth extraction. An internal resorption can occur for many reasons. A few examples are chemical or heat trauma, injury to the tooth, or a bacterial infection in the tooth’s root. 

External Resorption

Similar to internal resorption, external resorption occurs when the body absorbs cells from the tooth. However, instead of the cells originating from the inner dentin and cementum layers, they originated from the outside of the tooth. Typically, an external resorption occurs following trauma to the outside of the tooth, like orthodontic treatment or traumatic injury. However, external resorption can also be caused by a serious bacterial infection in the root of the tooth. 

Tooth Resorption

Treatment Options For Tooth Resorption

At this point, you are probably wondering what, if any, treatment options are available. First, if you have a concern about your oral health, contact Dr. Lau at Meadowbrook Family Dentistry right away. Each case is different and treatment plans can vary greatly. Depending on if your resorption is active and the extent of your injury, your treatment plan can range from no action to a root canal to complete tooth extraction. For more information about your oral health or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lau at Sacramento, California call our office. 

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