Your teeth work in conjunction with each other, and yet exist independently — each has its own crown and root system. That crown is covered with protective dental enamel, but in the subgingival region (the part of your tooth beneath the gum line), your tooth and its root are protected by cementum. This serves a similar purpose to enamel, although its composition is slightly different. Sometimes, the abnormal development of your cementum can prevent your teeth from truly existing independently.
Concrescence is the condition in which the cementum surrounding the root of one tooth merges with the cementum of a neighbouring tooth, fusing the two teeth together at the subgingival level. While this can definitely be categorised as abnormal development, in most cases, the condition is harmless and is unlikely to need major intervention.
This fusing is usually only problematic when one of the teeth with fused roots requires treatment. This can be any type of treatment, such as a root canal, repositioning via orthodontics or even simply root planing (the smoothing of a tooth root performed during professional dental cleaning). But how does concrescence create an obstacle for any required treatment at your local dental centre?
In many cases, a dentist can simply work around concrescence. Yes, it adds some complexity to dental treatment but not to the extent that it will prevent treatment. Professional cleaning and other basic forms of preventative treatment are unlikely to be disrupted. In some situations (such as when a root canal is required), the fusing of the tooth's roots may lead to the necessary extraction of one of the affected teeth. If your concrescence and need for dental work mean that extraction is unavoidable, then the extracted tooth will be replaced with a prosthesis, such as a permanent dental implant. With implants, the tooth's root system is replaced with a titanium alloy bolt implanted into your jaw, which eliminates your concrescence.
Fortunately, the vast majority of people affected by concrescence will not require intervention. Unless your teeth are overcrowded and the fusing of two tooth roots has led to discomfort, your teeth with their conjoined roots can be left in place, and there won't be any reduced functionality. In short, unless concrescence complicates essential dental work, or the condition has resulted in discomfort, your dentist will recommend doing nothing. However, when concrescence is diagnosed, it's yet another reason to be diligent with your oral health since any deterioration of your teeth (and the subsequent restoration work) will be more complicated for a patient with concrescence.
For anyone affected by concrescence, it's necessary to take the best possible care of your teeth, meaning that you're reducing your chances of needing any major dental work performed on the teeth in question. Contact a local dental centre to learn more.