What is root exposure?

The root of a tooth is normally covered by the bone and gum supporting the tooth. If this support is removed part of the root is exposed. It may be mild, moderate or severely exposed. Root exposure exposes the soft inner and innervated dentine core of a tooth to the oral environment for which it was not designed. The tooth may be sensitive to otherwise normal stimuli like hot and cold. It is prone to tooth decay. Over time, the tooth may loosen and fall out.The expression “long in the tooth” refers to root exposure and gum loss as part of the ageing process.



  • Tooth sensitivity.
  • Twinges, aches and pains can occur at any time.
  • Common triggers are sweet, sour, hot, or cold foods and drinks.
  • Teeth looking longer or the appearance of the roots at the base of your teeth..
  • Red, swollen or bleeding gums, which are signs of gum disease which can lead to root exposure.

Common causes & prevention

  • A sawing motion of the brush damages the gum and exposes root, especially if the gum is soft and thin or the roots bulge beneath the bone and gum thinning the overlying bone.
  • Avoid vigorous brushing and abrasive toothpaste. Brush gently in a circular motion both the tooth and gum.
  • Immediately consult your dentist if you notice any signs of exposed roots.
  • Avoid acidic soft drinks which can rapidly demineralize dentine and promote root decay.


Get a Toothpic online dental consult or visit your dentist to find out if you have exposed roots. Following this, they may apply sensitizing agents or fluoride gels to the sensitive area, treat any gum disease, and, in severe cases of exposed tooth roots, recommend a dental surgeon to perform a gum graft to cover the exposed area.

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