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Dentistry/External root resorption


QUESTION: My dentist has just diagnosed external root resorption of one and possibly two of my teeth. He has suggested that that the more obvious tooth is not salvageable but has referred me to a specialist Endodontist for examination.
There is no clear trauma that i can recall, and no previous orthodontic work. Should I be concerned about he cause of this condition? (this resorption was not picked up in recent dental examinations, but is at gum line)

ANSWER: Hi Ross,

I'm sorry to hear you are dealing with this problem. External resorption is a tough thing to deal with as the tooth destruction can be pretty severe. I think what you're really asking is will this happen to other teeth and why is this even happening? Is that correct? Resorption always has a causative factor. It never just starts on it's own. Orthodontics and trauma are the most often seen causes, but the trauma could be minor, like bumping your head even hitting your tooth just the right way with a spoon....something you may not even have paid attention to. It would be impossible for this to spread to other teeth. There may even be another explanation for the destruction besides resorption. I would suggest that you get your examination by the endodontist and ask him/her these questions.

I know this isn't a very complete answer, but since I can't exam you, it's tough for me to give a definitive answer. Hopefully, after your exam, you will have more answers and develop a plan to fix what has happened so far.

Best of luck. Hope this helps some anyway.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Dr Buckland,

Thank you for taking the time to reply. Yes, you understood my question completely, and your clear reply will help me make the most of my consultation time.

I didn't mention that I had had neck surgery (removal of benign parotid tumour 5 years ago..but I will mention this to endodontist..I was wondering if there may be link? My dentist also discovered full sinus in the imaging, I have had this noticed before with dental x-rays.

Once again, thank you for your service, much appreciated


Hi Ross...

You are more than welcome! Glad I could help some anyway. It's possible that if they did an intubation during your surgery, that process may have traumatized your teeth...we sometimes see this.

Best of luck resolving this!

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD


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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD


I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.


25 years practicing as a specialist

American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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