External resorption in multiple teeth, possibly caused by orthodontics

Apr 2, 2024
I went to a dentist for extreme tooth pain/sensitivity in several molars. I get mild, brief pain when any food or drink touches the area between those teeth, and if the food or drink is hot, cold, or extremely sweet, forget it--the pain will almost bring me to tears (though it lasts only a few seconds). This pain/sensitivity started about 6 months ago and only got worse. I'm 24 years old and female. I don't smoke or drink. I floss daily and brush 2x/day for a while now.

The doctor performed the cold test, and I had sharp pain, lasting about 3 seconds. He looked at my X-rays and found that I had signs of external resorption in 3 molars. (Although almost all of my teeth have developed similar sensitivity to lesser degrees. He only took X-rays of the ones that were hurting the most.) He referred me to an endodontist that I will be seeing in 2 days.

After googling what external resorption means, I'm freaking out. Most sources are saying that in the majority of cases, the teeth will need to be extracted, which is alarming since all of my teeth have developed the same sensitivity/pain to varying degrees. My dentist couldn't answer why the resorption occurred and said it could be idiopathic.

I've never had trauma. I did braces from about 2013-2015 and Smile Direct Club invisible aligners from about 2017-2019. I've been wearing my retainers nightly since completing my last alignment treatment. Throughout the day, my teeth will shift slightly and putting on the retainers at night will be a bit tight/painful. I explained all of this to my dentist and he said it's unlikely that an orthodontic treatment I completed years ago and/or the retainers are causing the resorption and he said that the mild shifting throughout the day is normal as some people have faster relapse speeds than others.

As of about a month, I also developed some other symptoms I believe may be related like occasional, mild ear and jaw pain (ears will feel mildly painful pressure, jaw is more of an ache and stiffness. I'll have the urge to open wide and stretch it out) and random, brief numbness or pain in my hands and feet 10-20 times a day. Both the facial pain and bodily numbness occur on both sides of my body, but more on the left, which is also where I experience more dental pain.

Please help, I'm really at a loss.
Apr 2, 2024
Do you have any x-rays that you could share that indicates the external resorption?
Attached are the photos from my endodontic visit today. These are teeth 18, 19, and 30, I believe. She said she doesn't see any external resorption and it might've been artifacts on the previous dentist's X-rays. She said the extreme pain/sensitivity I feel might be from a wisdom tooth that just erupted and 2 cavities in the very back molars, 1 on each side. I asked her if a wisdom tooth/cavity could cause pain in teeth that aren't adjacent, or on teeth above, and she said yes. We're gonna get the wisdom extracted and cavity filled and see if that does the trick.

However, the borders of some of my roots still look fuzzy/gone completely (eg right side of first pic), and this is what the previous dentist thought was resorbed. What do you think? Thanks so much.


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Dr M

Verified Dentist
May 31, 2019
No signs of resorption can be seen here. Have your wisdom teeth extracted and see how it goes.


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