By: Susan Crandell
What you’re describing is a somewhat mysterious condition called resorption, which can claim a tooth.
It occurs when certain cells begin to eat away the tooth structure or bone, explains Raymond Martin, a dentist and spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry . And though it may sound like something straight out of a science fiction novel, it’s true: Internal resorption moves outward from the center of the tooth, which is why it looks like gum tissue is growing out of your tooth. (Note: This is not the same as gum overgrowth -- an enlargement of the gums, which can be caused by certain medications).
Dentists theorize that resorption results from infection of the tooth pulp. To save your tooth, you may need a root canal -- a procedure where your dentist opens a small path to the pulp, takes out the infected material and then fills the cavity.
To protect your oral health moving forward, get a full set of dental X-rays taken every five years. If you wear braces, make sure your orthodontist checks regularly for resorption.
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Susan Crandell writes about health for such magazines as Prevention. She is the author of Thinking About Tomorrow: Reinventing Yourself at Midlife, and her articles frequently appear in Oral Care and Health Daily (Australia & New Zealand).
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