The term root canal strikes fear in patients and dentists alike. They can happen to anyone and those that have suffered from painful root canals know the feeling all too well. Root canals are needed for severe tooth infections that infect the central pulp of the tooth. They are not always easy to detect and are often discovered when the tooth becomes inflamed or infected. Nevertheless, they are quick to treat with root canal surgery.
Let’s get to the bottom of root canals and determine how a root canal forms. Prevention is key when it comes to these painful infections and it is important to know what causes them, in order to prevent them in the future.
How A Root Canal Forms
In the simplest terms, root canal infections are most often caused by bacteria. There can be several different strains of bacteria found in the infected tooth, so there is not one specific type of root canal causing bacteria. You may be wondering how this bacteria actually gets inside your tooth. To answer this, you should think of root canals as much larger, more painful cavities. With cavities, bacteria cause decay in the tooth enamel and dentin (inner) layer.
It causes small holes to form in the tooth, which we call cavities. These holes can be quite painful and you may notice a toothache if they get too deep. This is typically when patients seek treatment and the cavity is cleaned and filled with a filling. Root canals can form in a similar way, however, they go much deeper into the tooth.
Root canals affect the inner root or pulp of the tooth. This inner layer is extremely sensitive, it is filled with nerves and blood vessels and when it becomes infected, it sends a shooting pain through your tooth and jaw. Root canals are like very deep cavities, they infect the tooth all the way to the soft, nerve-filled root.
Root canals usually take a long time to form, it can take several months before you notice that something is wrong. When a dentist treats your root canal, they perform root canal surgery, which removes the infected tooth root so the infection can heal.
Causes of Root Canal Infections
Bacteria is the main cause of root canal infections, however, there are many different ways in which the bacteria can enter a tooth and cause a root canal.
If a patient has experienced a facial or head trauma, and there is damage to one or more of their teeth, it leaves the teeth vulnerable to bacteria. Even a chipped tooth can be enough for bacteria to enter the softer layers under the enamel, and work its way towards the root.
Root canals can be formed in much the same way cavities are formed. In fact, if a cavity goes for several months without treatment, there is a chance it could turn into a root canal. The cavity-causing bacteria continue to work their way deeper into the tooth until they eventually infect the root.
Sometimes fillings from old cavities can actually contribute to a root canal. Fillings are meant to seal your teeth and protect fragile teeth. When fillings get old, they can form cracks or leave gaps, which allows harmful bacteria to enter the weakened tooth. Sometimes, this can occur with new fillings that have not set properly. Bacteria can still enter the tooth through gaps in the fillings.
Tips to Prevent Root Canals
There are some ways to prevent root canals from forming. First, it is always a good idea to maintain proper oral health, this can keep harmful cavity-causing bacteria from settling on the teeth and causing decay. Secondly, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist every 6 months for regular cleaning and a check-up. If there are any parts of your mouth that feel painful or sensitive, tell your dentist during your appointment. Frequent checkups can help to catch potential root canals early and treat them before they become problematic.
Furthermore, be sure to maintain a balanced diet and avoid eating too much sugar. The bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugar and it can lead to cavities. If you do have existing cavities, contact your dentist, cavities that aren’t filled properly can cause harmful bacteria to penetrate deeper into the tooth, eventually causing a root canal.
Visit LA Dental for Root Canal Surgery
The experienced team at LA Dental Clinic can help to diagnose and treat your root canal. Our dental professionals will carefully examine and x-ray your mouth. We can perform root canal surgery by appointment or as an emergency treatment. Contact us to book a consultation or call our clinic today.