One rare problem that I have been seeing more of lately is external resorption of the tooth. On x-ray examinations, this can first appear to be decay but it is different. Decay is related to a bacterial invasion and the resulting lesion is soft. External resorption has a similar appearance but the lesion is hard when feeling with an instrument. While tooth decay may be treated by mechanically removing the decay and restoring the tooth, external resorption is much harder to deal with.
A Result of Trauma
These lesions are usually a result of trauma. I have seen it occur when people were exposed to an accident and blunt trauma is impacted onto the teeth. However, recently I’ve discovered another trauma that can be a causative factor in this destructive eating away of the tooth structure. Severe clenching or grinding of the teeth can also put pressure on the teeth and surrounding structures and initiate this disease process.
There are cells surrounding the roots which are called odontoclasts. These cells come into play when a permanent tooth erupts under the primary tooth. The root of the primary tooth is eaten away by these odontoclasts. Of course, this is the normal process that allows primary teeth to be shed and permanent teeth to erupt.
The cells are normally dormant around permanent teeth. However, once the trauma is exposed to the root and surrounding structure, they can awaken and cause damage to permanent teeth. Again this looks like decay but is a different process and much harder to eradicate. Once it gets started, it is very difficult to stop these cells from destroying teeth. Usually, the only treatment is the eventual extraction of the tooth.
Clenching and Grinding
In these very stressful times in which we live, I have seen an epidemic occurrence of clenching and grinding of the teeth. An overwhelming majority of people do this although many do not know they are doing it. This can occur during the day or night, but mostly it happens at night. Other symptoms of clenching or grinding are jaw pain, shoulder and neck pain, and headache pain. Resorption of the tooth, however, is more silent; people usually don’t know until the dentist diagnoses it or the resorption goes into the nerve and becomes painful.
The Best Prevention
The best way to prevent this problem is to use some type of a guard or device that goes between the teeth and helps them stop coming together with such extreme force and traumatizing the teeth.
GrindReliefN is the best mouth guard for clenching and grinding your teeth and is the only over-the-counter device that meets or exceeds the performance of other professional devices. Smaller and easier to wear, it covers only the front 6 to 8 teeth, either upper or lower. Easy to fit with online video instructions, it may be formed and reformed as many times as the patient would like.