Tooth decay is most commonly known as the infection that leads to cavities, or holes in your teeth. In most cases, these cavities can be treated early with a minimally invasive, tooth-colored filling. However, more severe cases of tooth decay can involve the infection of your tooth’s pulp and root canal, which carry its nerves and blood vessels from your tooth to your jawbone and back again. When a root canal becomes infected, a simple tooth filling won’t be enough to treat it, and your dentist may have to perform root canal therapy to save your tooth.
How Internal Tooth Decay Happens
Tooth decay most often begins at the outer surface of your tooth, known as enamel. Harmful oral bacteria can produce acids that weaken this protective layer, and before long, they can maneuver past compromised enamel to infect the main body of the tooth (called dentin). Neglecting or hesitating to treat it will give tooth decay time to progress until it reaches the pulp and becomes more severe. Sometimes, though, a fracture or break in the tooth can expedite the process by leaving your tooth’s pulp immediately exposed to harmful oral bacteria.
The Point of Root Canal Treatment
The point of root canal treatment is to clean out the infected pulp tissues from the inner chamber and root canal of your tooth. This requires a more comprehensive procedure than a tooth filling, though it is still minimally invasive and can typically be performed in just a single visit. After removing the infected tissues and harmful oral bacteria, your dentist can refortify the tooth and root by sealing it with durable, biocompatible materials. Then, you may benefit from protecting the tooth further by capping it with a custom-designed dental crown, which restores the tooth’s ability to function properly without sustaining any structural damage.
Learn How to Treat Your Infected Root Canals
When a tooth’s root canal becomes infected, the condition is significantly more serious than more common tooth decay and root canal treatment may be the best answer to it. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling Robert M. Browne, DDS, in Prairie Village, KS today at (913) 901-8585.