Does root resorption mean you can’t save the tooth?

Dr. Hall,
I hadn’t been to a dentist for treatment in 5 years – though I had x-rays and a treatment plan 2 years ago, I never went through with it due to cost and not trusting the dentist’s opinion. So I finally went to the dentist this month. I got a couple cavities filled by the general dentist, but while attempting a root canal on my upper molar, #14, the endodontist said I have root resorption, which he didn’t realize beforehand when looking at the x-ray – it had appeared I just had a cavity very close to the root. So he said unfortunately he can’t save the tooth and it would need to be pulled and I’d have to get an implant.

Was it necessary to pull the tooth in the first place because of the root resorption, or was the endodontist forced to pull it because he had already started the root canal and couldn’t finish it?
– Erin from California

When root resorption is at the end of the root, it may be caused from the infection that started inside the tooth, and it may be possible to still save the tooth. But it sounds like your root resorption was on the side of the root. There is no way we know of to treat that type of root resorption, so yes, I believe the tooth was not saveable and needed to be extracted.

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.


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