Your tooth's root

Incisive Bite

by Dr Sharon Robinson

Sunday, December 02, 2018

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WHAT exactly is tooth dilaceration? It is defined as a rare, and sometimes preventable occurrence, an injury “to a developing tooth root that results in a curve of the long axis as development continues”.

This condition occurs when your tooth's root or crown bends or curls instead of growing relatively straight. It appears most often in the back teeth.

According to one published report, some root curvature is fairly common in back teeth, but extreme cases are rare. The curvature is considered acute when the root bends 90 degrees or more from the axis of your tooth, or more than 20 degrees at the tip of the root curve.

It can look slightly curved at the tip of your root, or it can look S-shaped, the report notes.

Causes of the curvature

Causes of the condition include tooth trauma, delayed tooth eruption, and the manner of tooth development. Most commonly, as bones grow in the area, shifts in their course of development cause the curvature.

Flexion vs dilaceration

You may hear these terms used interchangeably, but they mean distinct things. An oral article dilaceration is defined as a deviation of 90 degrees or more along the long axis of the tooth. Flexion occurs when the deviation is less than 90 degrees.

Is it preventable?

Injury to primary teeth can damage your permanent teeth, but this rarely happens. It is possible for trauma to affect the tooth development of four- to five-year-olds. Taking care to avoid injury to the mouth at this age is one way to prevent the condition (and always during sports and recreational activity).

Certain conditions, such as Smith-Magenis syndrome and Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome, as well as family history can increase the risk of acute root curvature. Cysts or tumours can also be risk factors.

Visit your dentist and doctor as soon as you see or feel an abnormality in your or your child's face and mouth area.

Likewise, if you feel pressure or pain (which can result from this condition) in this area, make an appointment.

Treatment options

An endodontist, or a root specialist, is typically involved in treatment. The endodontist will take X-rays to determine the extent of the problem and will use special instruments to guard against further injury of the area. A root canal and full cleaning within the tooth are essential if the curve is severe.

Caring for your child's primary teeth and making regular paediatric dentist appointments are important for catching the problem early on, if it develops.

Dr Sharon Robinson DDS has offices at the Dental Place Cosmetix Spa, located at shop #5, Winchester Business Centre, 15 Hope Road, Kingston 10. Dr Robinson is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology, Jamaica, School of Oral Health Sciences. She may be contacted at 630-4710. Like their Facebook page, Dental Place Cosmetix Spa.

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