Internal root resorption is rare in permanent teeth. It has not been proven to be hereditary or to be contagious. The process is slow to advance and therefore many cases are not detected until the painful later stages of the condition. There are different theories on origin of internal root resorption but none have been theoretically proven. The most logical explanation is that the root or nerve tissue becomes inflamed due to trauma or insult for example an elbow to the tooth or decay during youth. The nerve undergoes a slow transformation where it no longer recognizes the hard tooth structure surrounding it as “self” tissue. The nerve slowly erodes away the tooth structure, thus resorbing it. The resorption in the early non-painful stage can be recognized with routine x-rays. The later stages may include pain if perforation of the side of the tooth occurs. The nerve inside the tooth is alive.
External Root Resorption
External Root Resorption is similar to internal root resorption but the resorption occurs from the outside and goes inwards. Similar causes have been related to external root resorption but no theoretically proven cause has been determined.
In both cases of external root resorption or internal root resorption the condition cannot be ignored. Left untreated, total tooth destruction is inevitable and extraction or pulling the tooth is the only option.
The treatment consists of thoroughly cleaning out and disinfecting the root or nerve and the defect caused by the resorption. Medicine is then placed in the tooth for three to twenty four months. This medicine may be periodically changed to insure it remains effective.
Once the tooth is “cleaned out” and your endodontist has determined that the tooth is still healthy, a root canal is then done to seal up the bottom of the tooth. A crown or build up is now required by your general dentist to maintain a healthy seal. Surgery is sometimes required to treat more severe cases or extraction may be required