Genetic factors in external apical root resorption and orthodontic treatment

J. K. Hartsfield, E. T. Everett, R. A. Al-Qawasmi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


External apical root resorption (EARR) is a common sequela of orthodontic treatment, although it may also occur in the absence of orthodontic treatment. The degree and severity of EARR associated with orthodontic treatment are multifactorial, involving host and environmental factors. Genetic factors account for at least 50% of the variation in EARR. Variation in the Interleukin 1 beta gene in orthodontically treated individuals accounts for 15% of the variation in EARR. Historical and contemporary evidence implicates injury to the periodontal ligament and supporting structures at the site of root compression following the application of orthodontic force as the earliest event leading to EARR. Decreased IL-1β production in the case of IL- 1B (+3953) allele 1 may result in relatively less catabolic bone modeling (resorption) at the cortical bone interface with the PDL, which may result in prolonged stress concentrated in the root of the tooth, triggering a cascade of fatigue-related events leading to root resorption. One mechanism of action for EARR may be mediated through impairment of alveolar resorption, resulting in prolonged stress and strain of the adjacent tooth root due to dynamic functional loads. Future estimation of susceptibility to EARR will likely require the analysis of a suite of genes, root morphology, skeleto-dental values, and the treatment method to be used-or essentially the amount of tooth movement planned for treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalCritical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004


  • EARR
  • Genetics
  • Heritability
  • Orthodontics
  • Root resorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • General Dentistry


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