Tooth resorption

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Tooth resorption
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 K03.3
ICD-9 521.4, 521.41 (internal), 521.42 (external)
MeSH D014091

Tooth resorption is a process by which all or part of a tooth structure is lost due to activation of the body's innate capacity to remove mineralized tissue, as mediated via cells such as osteoclasts. Types include external resorption and internal resorption. It can be due to trauma, infection, or hyperplasia.[1]

Internal resorption[edit]

Internal resorption is an unusual condition where the dentin and pulpal walls begin to resorb centrally within the root canal. The first evidence of the lesion may be the appearance of a pink-hued area on the crown of the tooth; this condition is referred to as pink tooth of Mummery, after the 19th century anatomist James Howard Mummery, and represents the hyperplastic, vascular pulp tissue filling-in the resorbed areas.

The cause can sometimes be attributed to trauma to the tooth, but other times there is no known etiology. If the condition is discovered before perforation of the crown or root has occurred, endodontic therapy (root canal therapy) may be carried out with the expectation of a fairly high success rate.

The fact remains that for many afflicted by Internal Resorption, the cause is actually unknown as it cannot be tied to a specific injury or traumatic incident. This has become so prevalent that the Internal Resorption Research Project has been created to anonymously collect data from these individuals to determine if there are any common threads or trends that may help determine the cause.

External resorption[edit]

External resorption is where the root surface is lost. This can be caused by chronic inflammation, cysts, tumors, trauma, reimplantation of a tooth, or sometimes the cause is unknown.

See also[edit]


  • Kahn, Michael A. Basic Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. Volume 1. 2001.
  • Internal Resorption Research Project website accessed February 17, 2014.
  1. ^ Heithersay GS (March 2007). "Management of tooth resorption". Aust Dent J 52 (1 Suppl): S105–21. doi:10.1111/j.1834-7819.2007.tb00519.x. PMID 17546866.