Tooth resorption


Tooth resorption

During early development, calcium and other minerals are absorbed from the intestines and deposited in the teeth. All three “hard” parts of the tooth: enamel, dentine and cementum contain calcium and other minerals. During normal “bone maintenance” the body removes and replaces minerals from the bone. The teeth are protected from this process by the periodontal ligament and the cementum on the surface of the teeth. Under certain circumstances, the body looses its ability to differentiate the teeth from bone and the resorption of mineral from the teeth begins resulting in the roots being “removed” and replaced by bonelike mineral. When the roots have been removed and replaced by bonelike material, there is no longer any periodontal ligament to keep the tooth secured in the alveolus and cushion it from trauma. Parts of the crown may also be removed, weakening it, often resulting in the crown breaking off. When this happens, the gum may grow over the site where the tooth broke off sealing the surface of the jaw. During this process the animal may stop eating dry food and may also have some bleeding from the mouth. If the condition is diagnosed before the crown breaks off, surgery can be done to remove the crown and place sutures in the gum to hold it in place so it can heal quicker and without the discomfort that normally accompanies the process. This is common in dogs and is diagnosed by taking x-rays of the teeth and jaws.
There is another type of resorption that is commonly seen and it is associated with inflammation. This type of resorption is not accompanied by replacement and happens at the neck of the root, within the pulp canal or at the root tip. Teeth affected by this type of inflammation at the neck of the tooth must be extracted. Those affected in the pulp canal or at the root tip can be treated by root canal therapy or they should be extracted. Some teeth that have been fractured and have exposed pulp canals, may have inflammatory resorption of their roots that can be resolved by root canal therapy.

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