3 Problems That Lead To A Root Canal

  • July 22, 2016

In our experience, few things produce looks of worry (and sometimes fear) more than saying this to a patient:

“You need a root canal.”

People have a lot of mistaken beliefs about root canal treatments. Some have basically risen to the level of being urban legends, while others have been perpetuated by portrayals of dentists in movies.

From our perspective at Forever Young Dentistry, we would prefer it if none of our patients ever needed a root canal treatment. That would mean none of them had infected teeth.

However, we want you to know that if ever do have a tooth infection, you always can come to our dentist office whether you live in Sterling Heights, MI, or nearby communities like Rochester Hills and Troy.

Knowing The ‘Root’ Causes

If you are of a certain age, then you may remember the cartoon series G.I. Joe. At the end of each episode, the show creators included a short lesson that concluded with that tagline that “Knowing is half the battle.”

With this in mind, half the battle against tooth infections is knowing how they occur. There are three common situations that lead to the kinds of infections that require root canal treatments. We want you to know what they are and what you can do to prevent them.

◼︎ Untreated Tooth Decay

That’s right. Cavities can lead to much bigger problems. Tooth decay starts by eating in the protective enamel on the outer layers of your tooth.

If the decay eats through the enamel, it can reach the second layer called dentin and eventually the pulp chamber at that center of your tooth. This chamber contains pulp (which is a soft connective tissue), blood vessels, and nerves.

The bacteria that cause tooth decay also can cause the pulp to become infected or inflamed. This can lead to a variety of symptoms such as sharp pains when you bite or chew with that tooth, lingering pains, and sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweets.

If you experience any or all of those symptoms, we hope it will prompt you to make an appointment with us as soon as you can.

This problem can be avoided as long as you know that you have a cavity. The best approach is prevention, and you do this by following the American Dental Association’s guidelines regarding oral hygiene.

Scrub your teeth on all sides with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes twice each day. Floss between your teeth and gums to remove bacteria from places where your toothbrush can’t reach.

And remember to visit the dentist for routine cleanings and examinations. In addition to removing plaque and tartar buildup (which can lead to cavities), we will look for signs that you may have a cavity. If we see something, we will advise you how to treat the cavity before it eats into the center of your tooth.

◼︎ Untreated Gum Disease

The bacteria in your mouth can cause gum disease, too. In the advanced stages, you may develop pockets in your gum tissue. These pockets are places where plaque and tartar can build on the roots of your teeth.

These are good “staging areas” for bacteria to eat into the roots of your teeth. Eventually, they will reach the root canal, the opening in your roots where blood vessels and nerves enter your teeth.

Your root canals also contain pulp, so this is another way for bacteria to cause your pulp to become inflamed. In addition to the painful symptoms mentioned above, you may have a pimple-like bump on your gums and your gums may feel tender near the tooth in pain.

Again, prevention involves brushing, flossing, and visiting our office. Gum disease often can be treatment before it can lead to a tooth infection.

◼︎ Broken Teeth

Accidents and injuries happen, and sometimes they cause your tooth to break. A deep break may expose the innermost parts of your tooth, which can allow bacteria to attack the pulp in your tooth.

One way to reduce this risk is to wear a custom-fitted athletic mouthguard whenever you are practicing or competing in high-impact sports or activities. If you would like to get one for yourself or someone in your family, we can make one for you.

Save Yourself The Trouble

We are more than capable of providing root canal treatments at our dentist office in Sterling Heights, MI. However, we would prefer that you take steps to prevent a tooth infection.

We hope you will make an appointment soon at our dentist office whether you need a root canal treatment or you need a routine cleaning and examination. To contact us, fill out our online form or call 586-698-7135.