Root canal treatments are a second-to-last resort for protecting teeth from further damage and decay. Root canals can even be needed when there’s no pain present. If your dentist informed you that you need a root canal, it’s probably to help save your tooth because your tooth’s probably infected. Suppose you still find yourself wondering why you need a root canal and whether or not it’s necessary. In that case, we’re here to help inform you of the risks associated with your infected tooth, how root canals are performed, and why they’re sometimes a necessary procedure for protecting teeth.
How Do Cavities Occur?
Cavities, or tooth decay, are created the buildup of bacteria over time. This bacteria generally forms a sticky, filmy substance called plaque, and that plaque can be hard to clean when left on the tooth for long periods. This bacterial substance, along with un-brushed food particles and sugar, can cause the tooth’s enamel to wear down, reaching down into the dentin and then the root of the tooth and decays the pulp of the tooth over time. Because of the plaque’s acidic quality, the bacteria within the plaque can hit the tooth’s nerves, causing pain and inflammation.
For some, the signs of decay don’t come with pain, because the tooth may also be decayed so drastically that the bacteria destroy the nerve root of the tooth. However, the most common signs of a cavity include:
- Sensitivity to cold and heat
- Swelling along the gums
- Tooth discoloration
- Pain throughout the tooth
- Tenderness along the gums
In its advanced stages, cavities can develop abscesses or pimple-like pockets of infection that indicate an extremely high risk of tooth loss because the infection has since reached into the pulp and root of the tooth and has taken hold of the tooth’s lifeline to the jawbone. If left untreated during this time, tooth loss can occur, and an extraction may be needed to save the integrity of the jaw and the adjacent teeth.
How Do Root Canals Save Teeth?
A root canal procedure helps remove the tooth’s infection and saves it from harmful, long-term damage. Root canals are an endodontic treatment that focuses on severe tooth decay and can be performed by a primary dentist or an endodontist. For patients with severe tooth decay, the decay area is first cleaned out using numbing material, drills, and files to clear away any damaged pulp and an antimicrobial solution to clear out any leftover bacteria present. Once the chamber is cleared, the dentist will fill the tooth with thermoplastic latex resin called gutta-percha, close the area with a filling or crown to protect the root from future infections.
By providing these special cleanings, dentists can save the tooth’s integrity without approaching the next phase of treatment, which would involve removing the tooth entirely. The tooth’s restorations will protect the root from damage and protect the rest of your natural teeth from any future infections.
To learn about root canal treatments, and see if you qualify for a root canal, contact Dr. Sam S. Sadati at The Sadati Center for Aesthetic Dentistry in Wellington, FL to schedule an appointment and learn about the various ways Dr. Sadati can treat your cavity and give you a proper restoration today.