Should You Worry About Exposed Tooth Roots?

Normally, tooth roots aren’t something that can be seen because they’re covered by gum tissue. However, that can change, and if your tooth roots are exposed, you can experience many discomforts, including pain and sensitivity. 

It is important to act quickly when you have a dental problem such as this. If you delay treatment for your exposed tooth root in the hope that your gum tissue will grow back, it can worse things. Moreover, while exposed tooth roots might not always be an inevitability, there are some things that you can do not to exacerbate your oral health. 

What Causes An Exposed Tooth Root?

Some of the factors that can lead to exposed tooth roots include:


Certain medications can also affect the health of your gums and teeth. Antihistamines, immunosuppressants, and chemotherapy medications, for instance, can increase the risk of gum problems, according to Better Health Channel. Oral contraceptives may also cause issues with the gums as well as antidepressants may increase the risk of tooth decay.

Another factor that also needs to be considered is the anatomy of your mouth. According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research, Dental Clinics, Dental Prospects, the high attachment of frenum – the thin tissue connecting your gums to lips – can also cause local gum recession. It can then leave the tooth roots exposed.

A few other predisposing factors for gum recession noted by the researchers include poor design of removable dentures, dental restorations, chemical trauma (e.g. cocaine), and calculus, among others. Again, keep in mind that gum recession may lead to the exposure of your tooth roots.

Can An Exposed Tooth Root Heal On Its Own?

An exposed tooth root cannot heal on its own because if the problem is due to a displacement of your gum tissue, you should know that gums cannot grow back on their own. Therefore, you shouldn’t wait for your exposed roots to fix on their own.

Can An Exposed Tooth Root Cause Pain?

Exposed tooth roots can be quite painful, and this can also be accompanied by sensitivity, although depending on the underlying cause of the problem, you can have other symptoms as well. For instance, gum disease can cause swelling, soreness and bleeding, in addition to other things. 

gum issue

Keep in mind that you can experience discomfort on consumption of foods that are acidic, hot, cold, and/or sweet, so you should be careful about what you eat. 

How To Tell If A Tooth Root Is Exposed?

Some signs of tooth root exposure may include:

  • Uneven gums around the teeth
  • Longer-looking teeth
damaged gum
Image credit: Mouth and gum damage, marked as public domain

Pain and sensitivity can also be indicative of this problem. And it’s important that you keep an eye out for them as exposed tooth roots might not always be so easily visible – it might escape your notice if it’s all happening at the back of your mouth.

Additionally, you must remember that these might not be the only signs and symptoms you experience as they can vary depending on the underlying problem and the condition of your teeth.

What Is The Treatment For Exposed Tooth Roots?

The treatment for exposed tooth roots will depend on why you experienced the problem in the first place.

For instance, if you are experiencing gum recession due to gum disease, treatments can include scaling and root planing. Periodontal flap surgery might be needed in case of deeper pockets around the teeth.

scaling vs root planing

Additionally, depending on the extent of the damage, you might also be recommended gum graft to have gums cover your tooth roots again. If the tooth is very badly damaged, however, an tooth extraction might be needed.

On the other hand, if the problem is tooth decay, treatments can include dental filling, crowns, root canal or a complete extraction.

tooth extracted

In the case of bruxism, your doctor may recommend the use of a mouthguard. Psychological and physical therapy are also some treatment options for this problem. Other than that, Botox may help as well.

And for misalignment of the teeth or malocclusion, braces are a very popular orthodontic treatment, but there other ways in which it can be treated as well.

In any case, it’s extremely important that you get in touch with a board-certified medical professional as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


Exposed tooth roots aren’t something that you should take lightly, and it’s the kind of dental problem you should seek help for as soon as you can.

Keep in mind that there are a number of factors that can cause this problem in the first place, like smoking, poor dental hygiene, or hard brushing. Therefore, you need to take these factors into consideration as well for the long-term health of your gums and teeth.

Reviewed and approved by Dr Izbel Aksit


Can you leave an exposed tooth root?

You should not leave a tooth root exposed. Keep in mind that your gum tissue will not grow back on its own, so leaving the roots exposed will cause discomforting pain and sensitivity. It can also be accompanied by other symptoms depending on the cause of the problem. Delay in treatment can lead to worsening of your oral health.

Are Exposed Tooth Roots Bad?

It is bad to have exposed tooth roots because you may develop an infection, experience bone loss and even tooth loss as a result of it. Therefore, if you feel something is not right with your oral health, you should book an appointment with your dentist.

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