Ways to treat tooth resorption include root canal therapy, tissue debridement and tooth extraction, depending on the type and the extent of the resorption, according to Dr. Barry F. McArdle, D.M.D. Resorption can occur externally and internally. Root canal therapy treats internal resorption, and dentists treat external resorption by removing the invasive tissue, chemically treating the remaining root surface to guard against future resorption and using restorative material to replace lost root structure.
Resorption is a change in the root of a tooth due to conditions other than tooth fractures or decay, explains Dr. McArdle. Untreated resorption generally results in tooth loss. Internal resorption begins where the surface of a tooth's root creates the boundary of the tooth nerve chamber, and it is often the result of chronic tooth nerve inflammation. Compared to external resorption, internal resorption is easier to treat. Dentists treat internal resorption using root canal therapy, which involves removing root pulp from the nerve chamber and eliminating the causes of inflammation.
External resorption begins where the root of the tooth connects to the jawbone, and it is more aggressive than internal resorption, notes Dr. McArdle. In advanced cases, root canal therapy may be necessary after debridement. When the resorption is extensive, tooth removal may be necessary.