What Is Dental Concrescence And How Does It Affect Your Teeth?

Many forms of general dentistry are preventative in nature. Your regular checkups help your dentist to note potential problems in their primary stages, making treatment far easier. Clearly, it's easier for a dentist to fill a cavity than it is to treat the problem at a later stage—when the deterioration has reached your dental pulp, meaning you'll need a root canal, often followed by a dental crown. However, some dental conditions may not be noticed until treatment actually becomes necessary on the tooth in question.

The Basic Anatomy of Your Teeth

You probably know the basic anatomy of your tooth. At its center is the pulp (which is the tooth's nerve). The pulp chamber is surrounded by dentin, which forms the majority of the tooth's structure. This dentin is coated in enamel, which is a hard, highly-mineralized compound that protects your teeth. Enamel only coats the tooth's crown (its visible portion), and beneath the gums it gives way to cementum, which protects the tooth's roots. This cementum can sometimes branch off to neighboring teeth, essentially fusing your teeth together at the root. This condition is known as dental concrescence. 

Generally Asymptomatic

Most people affected by dental concrescence are unaware of it. It's generally asymptomatic, and since it only affects teeth at the subgingival level (beneath the gums), the teeth usually appear to have developed perfectly normally. However, when a tooth requires treatment that involves its roots, dental concrescence can create an obstacle. Consider the aforementioned root canal. This involves the removal of the tooth's pulp, but when the tooth's roots have branched off and fused its cementum with its neighbor, it can be impossible to comprehensively remove the entirety of your problematic dental pulp. 

Treatment Can Be Complicated

Dental concrescence means that a routine problem may require more extensive treatment. A root canal may not even be possible, and an affected tooth may in fact need to be extracted (and replaced with a dental implant). Similarly, trauma to a tooth that's conjoined to a neighbor can require the extraction of both teeth. Should a dentist note dental concrescence prior to a specific dental problem developing (such as during a standard radiograph), it's yet another reason to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible. 

Treating basic problems can be troublesome when dental concrescence is evident, so it's in your best interests to avoid the need for intensive treatments. This underlines the extreme importance of preventative dentistry. For more information, contact a dentist.