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The word ‘furcation’ means separation. In dentistry, it refers to the splitting up of dental roots in the case of teeth with multiple roots. In a tooth, there is the crown, a root stem and then the dental roots. The dental root is not covered with enamel. Unlike the crown, it is made of bone like substance much like bone cement. The place where the roots emerge from the stem is called furcation. Based on the number of roots, they are called ‘bifurcation’ in the lower jaw and ‘Trifurcation’ in the upper jaw. Molars in the lower jaw have two (Bi) roots and those in the upper jaw have three (Tri). The names given to the furcation found in these teeth are indicative of these. Receding bone and exposed root can lead to affected furcation due to bacterial action on the dental root bones. Periodontitis can cause bacterial action causing receding bone and exposed root. Bacteria easily attack affected trifurcation and affected bifurcation causing scars as they are difficult to clean and be removed from these locations. There are levels of severity in affected trifurcation and affected bifurcation. The dentist checks the extent of exposed root by inserting a probe. If it passes about 3 mm, the condition is considered level one. Similarly, 6 mm corresponds to level 2 and is the probe passes through the exposed root entirely, it is termed level 3. Level 1 and 2 furcation defects can be treated through reconstruction of paradontium or the lost bone. In level 3 defects, reconstruction is not possible and the affected furcation is cleaned using intra-dental brushes. In cases where this is not sufficient, tunnelling may be performed to increase the gap in the furcation slightly, enabling the dentist to treat the affected furcation. In other, more severe cases, the furcation may be amputated in order to treat the defect. Watch this video to know more about furcation defects and treatments for receding bone.
Produced: 02/2011