Can Cavity Turn Into Root Canal?
A root canal has two definitions in dentistry. The first one refers to the portion of the pulp cavity inside the root of a tooth while the second one points out a notorious endodontic surgery that often makes the patients cringe at the thought of a dental appointment. The latter is entirely undeserved, as it can help us save our teeth from extraction and eliminate strong, persisting pain that usually follows the dental infection. But first, we need to answer what exactly causes it, and can something as simple as a cavity turn into a root canal? Well, we’re about to discuss it in the paragraphs below, and we invite you to stay with us!
What is a Cavity?
A cavity typically forms due to bacterial activity in our mouth. The bacteria thrive on sugary drinks and foods, and the byproduct of those metabolic processes is an acid that causes enamel to erode, forming holes on the surfaces of teeth. If left untreated, a cavity can lead to a root canal since bacteria will eventually reach lower layers in our teeth: dentin and pulp. The pulp consists of many blood vessels and nerve endings that, once infected, can cause severe pain and swelling. However, if a dentist detects a cavity during one of your regular dental appointments, he or she will suggest that you get a filling, and this will prevent further damage. The persons who are at higher risk for cavities are those who have an unbalanced diet that consists of sugary drinks and foods, as well as individuals who smoke.
What Does a Root Canal Treatment Look Like?
An endodontic surgery that allows the dentist to treat the infection that spreads into the innermost layer of a tooth, a root canal is sometimes inevitable. This mostly happens when a cavity goes unnoticed on the outside but makes extensive damage to the inside of a tooth. If a dentist determines that a root canal must be done, they will use anesthesia to numb the area around the affected tooth to make the process of removing the damaged tissue as pain-free as possible. Then, they will proceed with cleaning and washing the tooth to prepare it for a dental filling to seal it up. That said, a root canal Is a complex procedure that usually involves a few visits to a dentist to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Signs That You Might Need a Root Canal
One of the most common signs that you need a root canal is severe, persistent pain that can’t be eliminated, even with the use of painkillers. However, the pain can also be dull, or you might experience only slight discomfort or other unpleasant sensations, such as increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages. Also, a tooth might become discolored, and the gum around the tooth might be swollen. If you have a chipped or cracked tooth with a visible cavity, it’s high time you paid a visit to your dentist to rule out the root canal procedure. In short, some of the signs are clear indicators you require a root canal treatment while some aren’t that obvious. The best way to avoid it is to practice regular dental hygiene and have dental checkups every so often.
Prevention is The Cure
And it will save you from big and costly dental procedures! Regular, preferably biannual dental appointments that include dental cleanings and occasional X-rays can go a long way when it comes to avoiding cavities and hence a root canal treatment. You shouldn’t be delaying your dental appointments but take a proactive approach instead. Having a dentist or a clinic you trust can be of immense help with that. Also, let’s not forget about regular brushing and flossing – The American Dental Association recommends that we brush at least twice a day, for two minutes minimum using fluoride toothpaste, and floss at least once a day.
As you can see, a root canal is an avoidable procedure, especially if you have a good dental hygiene routine and pay regular visits to your dentist. But a cavity can go almost unnoticed sometimes, causing extensive damage inside a tooth and this is when a root canal treatment is the only way to save the tooth from extraction. This procedure is more complex than a dental filling, meaning it will involve more visits to a dentist and be more costly. On a plus side, it’s necessary to save an affected tooth and prevent any further damage. On a minus side, a treated tooth will never be as strong as it was before the treatment.
Have you had a root canal procedure? How did you cope with the pain? Share your experience in the comments below!