Tooth decay is the kind of problem that can typically be addressed with a tooth-colored filling. The process involves cleaning and filling the cavity that the decay has formed in the main part, or dentin, of your tooth’s crown. However, this isn’t always the case, and when tooth decay is more severe, a tooth filling might not be enough to address it and save the tooth. Instead, root canal treatment could be necessary to remove the infection from deeper within the tooth and stop it from eroding more of the tooth’s tissues and structure.
The root canal of your tooth
A tooth’s root canal is the inner part of its root, which extends from the tooth’s crown to the root socket within your dental ridge. The main purpose of your tooth’s root is to structurally support the tooth as you bite and chew with it. Meanwhile, the canal inside of the root provides a path for the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels to receive nutrients from your jawbone structure. In severe cases of tooth decay, this inner canal of your root and the tissues that it carries can become infected, as can the pulp chamber of your tooth where these tissues reside.
The progression of tooth decay
Tooth decay is a progressive infection in your natural tooth structure that’s caused by an excessive presence of oral bacteria. The bacteria erode the enamel around the tooth in order to reach the tooth’s main structure of dentin, and the resulting infection is known as decay. The cavity that forms in the early stages of tooth decay is minor at first, but will grow larger the more the infection progresses. It may not take as long as you expect for the decay to progress enough to reach the pulp chamber, tissues, and root canal of the tooth, as well.
What root canal treatment accomplishes
When a tooth becomes severely decayed and its pulp and root canal become infected, the need to remove the infection becomes more dire. Infected pulp tissues can cause significantly more intense discomfort in your tooth, and your risks of losing the tooth or having to extract it will be much higher. Root canal treatment can help you avoid this by treating the severe infection and removing the infected tissues and tooth structure. Because the process is more involved than a typical tooth filling procedure, you may also benefit from having the tooth crowned after the root canal treatment is complete.
Learn if your tooth needs root canal treatment
If your tooth is severely decayed, then root canal treatment might be a necessary step in stopping it from becoming even more compromised. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling MMC Dental in Houston, TX, today at (713) 926-8896.