A root canal is when your dentist removes the pulp inside your tooth and seals it with a
biocompatible material. The pulp consists of nerves and blood vessels that help keep your tooth alive. However, certain situations can cause the pulp of your tooth to die or become infected, which can compromise the health of your tooth.
Fortunately, a root canal can prevent the need for an extraction and save your natural tooth. Root canal therapy is generally only used as a last resort to save the tooth, so when might it be necessary?
When a Tooth Has Extensive Decay
Teeth that have experienced extensive decay may need a root canal . Early decay often doesn’t have any symptoms, and so a cavity can form without you realizing it. Cavities progress in stages, and while many of the stages can be remedied with a simple filling, once the decay has progressed to the point that it affects the inner tissue of your tooth, a root canal may be necessary.
For some people, extensive decay will cause an infection inside their tooth, but for others, they may experience minimal or no symptoms of an infection. This is why visiting your dentist is so important to avoid extensive decay that can compromise your tooth!
Your Tooth Has Been Badly Injured
Teeth that have sustained an injury may also need root canal therapy . You may have a chip or a crack that has allowed bacteria to enter your tooth’s pulp and cause an infection, but the pulp can be affected even if your tooth doesn’t show any signs of damage on the outside. Some people may experience discoloration on a tooth that’s been injured but doesn’t otherwise show signs of exterior damage.
In cases such as these, the tooth may appear more gray or even a blackish color. This could mean the nerve tissue inside has died and your tooth may need a root canal to help restore its color. Teeth that have sustained an impact may be discolored and need root canal therapy.
You’ve Had Repeated Procedures to One Tooth
If you have a tooth that has had numerous dental procedures, it may be more susceptible to damage that could lead to a root canal . This includes teeth that have reoccurring cavities or new damage to a tooth that has already been damaged and repaired. This is because numerous procedures can weaken the tooth and eventually compromise the internal tissue of the tooth.
The best way to avoid the need for a root canal is to take good care of your teeth at home and regularly visit your dentist, but accidents can happen that are out of your control that can weaken your tooth and compromise the inner tissue.
Remember That Dental Problems Don’t Always Cause Symptoms
Dental problems that can lead to the need for a root canal don’t always cause symptoms. While most people will experience some type of pain, sensitivity, or discomfort, not everyone will. However, your dentist can typically catch these oral health problems early which may help you avoid a root canal or at least an extraction, so don’t miss your next regular checkup!