If you suffer from root resorption, dental implant surgery is likely the best solution for you.
Root resorption is a condition that can mimic the appearance of a cavity while doing serious damage to your tooth. In the event our oral surgeons cannot save the tooth, they may recommend that you have dental implant surgery to prevent further bone loss.
What Is Root Resorption?
When older tooth root cells dissolve, it’s called root resorption. This occurs naturally during childhood without a problem, causing the baby teeth to fall out. Once all the permanent teeth have erupted, resorption normally stops.
When the resorption process continues into adulthood, however, it’s called external cervical resorption (ECR). Although other teeth can be affected, this condition is most often seen in the upper front canines and incisors, and in the lower first molars.
What Causes Root Resorption?
The exact cause of ECR is not yet fully understood, but certain factors are associated with an increased risk of developing this degenerative dental condition.
Excessive orthodontic force on the teeth can result in resorption later in life. Damage to the periodontal ligament — the tissue that connects a tooth to the jawbone — may also initiate the process. Tooth grinding can be a risk factor for ECR, and certain dental procedures like bleaching may also play a role in its development.
However, many patients with these risk factors never develop resorption problems, and some people without any risk factors develop advanced ECR.
Although more research is necessary to determine exactly why resorption occurs, oral surgeons usually turn to dental implants to treat this condition.
When Is Dental Implant Surgery the Right Treatment Approach?
If root resorption is detected early enough, we can often repair the affected tooth with minor oral surgery. If the ECR has progressed to the point where it reaches the dental pulp, a root canal may be a viable option for saving the tooth.
However, in many cases, resorption isn’t detected until it appears as a dark spot on a routine dental X-ray. Unfortunately, by that time the damage may be too extensive for conservative treatment. The longer ECR goes undetected and untreated, the greater the likelihood that you will require tooth extraction and replacement.
When extraction is necessary, dental implants are often the preferred tooth replacement approach.
Implants look, feel and function just like natural teeth, and because of their placement directly in the jawbone, implants also help prevent future bone loss. And unlike with a partial bridge, dental implants won’t damage any of your healthy teeth.
As the leading tooth restoration and dental implant experts in the greater Salt Lake City area, the oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can evaluate your teeth and explain all your ECR treatment options. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule a consultation to discuss root resorption and dental implant surgery.