What Happens if a Reabsorbed Tooth is Left Untreated?

It Is Quite Common For Patients To Experience A Chipped Or Broken Tooth. This Is Especially Common For Patients As They Age, And Their Teeth Wear Down Over Time. Tooth Resorption, However, Can Be An Entirely Different Experience. Teeth With Chips Or Cracks Are Typically The Result Of An Accident Or Injury. In Many Cases, Tooth Resorption Is The Result Of A Physiological Or Pathological Process. While Tooth Resorption May Be Similar To Tooth Decay In Some Ways, It Also Has Some Unique Differences. The Following Article Will Review Common Causes Of Tooth Resorption, Symptoms, Types Of Resorption, And Treatment Options.

Tooth Resorption

Tooth or dental resorption is a relatively common form of an oral injury. It results in the loss of parts of the tooth’s surface. In addition to the loss of tooth structure, other signs of resorption include swelling and dark or pink spots on the surface of the tooth. The condition can impact different areas of the tooth such as the cementum, root, interior pulp, and dentin.


In most cases, resorption begins on the outside surface of the tooth and then migrates towards the inside. When it is left untreated, the condition can cause infections and other issues such as tooth loss and crooked teeth. Patients with any of these symptoms should follow up with their dentist as soon as possible. Early detection and prompt treatment is critical in preventing long-term damage.



The symptoms associated with dental resorption are not always obvious or noticeable, especially in the early stages. It is not uncommon for the condition to take months or even years before it is noticeable. As the condition progresses, the symptoms start to become more apparent and severe. The most common symptoms associated with tooth resorption are listed below:

  1. Swelling and redness of the gums
  2. Brittle teeth which easily chip
  3. Pink or dark spots on the teeth
  4. Holes in the teeth, similar to cavities
  5. Change in the spacing of the teeth
  6. Tooth pain


There are two types of tooth resorption which includes internal and external. Additional details are provided below.


Internal Resorption

As indicated by the name, this type of tooth resorption specifically affects the inside of the tooth. This type of resorption is less common and affects men more often than women. People who have undergone oral surgery are also at a higher risk for this type of resorption. Because this type of resorption affects tissues inside the teeth, patients are often unaware they even have a problem. X-rays are typically used to detect the problem, which are often obtained at a routine dental visit.


External Tooth Resorption

External tooth resorption is more common and affects the outside of the tooth. In many cases, the resorption presents itself as chips and deep holes. The damage is visible from the outside and can be quite obvious. When the root is affected by resorption, it will be detected through x-rays.


Tooth Resorption Causes

While the specific cause of resorption is not fully understood, there are various factors associated with the condition. It is common for resorption to occur after the teeth and mouth experience trauma or an injury. Braces or orthodontic appliances, grinding, and bleaching the teeth can also cause resorption. Swelling inside the tooth is often caused by an untreated cavity.



If a patient suspects they are experiencing any form of tooth resorption, they should follow up with their dentist right away. The treatment of tooth resorption typically involves repair of the affected area. This aids in preventing additional damage to the tooth. Depending on the severity of the issue, patients can work with their dentist to restore the appearance and function of the damaged tooth.

What is Tooth Resorption