Root Exposure – What Now?


One of the truths about robust oral health is something that not all patients may recognize –the fact  that your teeth, when they are healthy, should not hurt. If they DO it’s important to have them examined by your cosmetic dentist to ensure that any problems are quickly addressed before significant damage occurs.

Root exposure is an example of a problem that can develop over time, then cause pain once it is fully established. Gum disease, such as gingivitis or periodontitis, can lead to the recession, or pulling away, of the gums from your teeth, which can expose the tooth root. Roots are not intended to be exposed, so they do not have the protective covering of enamel that the visible exterior of the teeth have. This means that they are vulnerable to infection or injury once they are exposed.

If your tooth root has been exposed, then you may experience tooth sensitivity – which often arrives as a sudden, sharp flash of pain when the tooth is exposed to air, cold, sweet, acidic or hot foods. Brushing and flossing can also cause pain if you have a root exposure.

Your cosmetic dentist can help you determine the cause of your root exposure and the best way to correct it. There are several primary ways to fix an exposed root:

  • Onlays/fillings – Depending on where and how the root is exposed, your cosmetic dentist may be able to use flowable filling material to cover the root or a partial coverage onlay.
  • A full-coverage crown – If a filling or onlay won’t properly protect the exposed root, a full-coverage crown can protect your entire natural tooth from additional decay or injury.
  • Surgical gum graft – If fixing the exposed tooth root can’t be achieved through providing protection to the tooth root through a crown or filling, the gums can also be grafted near the affected area to protect the root and reduce sensitivity.

“You don’t have to live with tooth sensitivity due to root exposure! Your cosmetic dentist can recommend a solution that will reduce your discomfort and protect your teeth and gums,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist with a practice in the Biltmore area of central Phoenix.

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