Endodontics is a term applied to the inner portion of the tooth. Though protected by a hard outer layer of enamel, the inner portion of the tooth can become infected when the tooth has been breached whether due to fracture or decay. Once the inner portion of the tooth has become infected, there are very few options for the patient; the tooth will not fix itself if ignored. Our team at Kelly Smile Dentistry can review and diagnose the issue and discuss treatment options, which in many circumstances will include root canal therapy.
How did the inner portion of my tooth become infected?
Our teeth are very strong, and allow us to chew a large variety of food. In fact, enamel is the hardest biological material, comprised mostly of calcium. However, they are also exposed to things that can cause damage. From bacteria to fracture or breakage, teeth can be vulnerable to harm.
Our teeth are constantly subject to decay-causing bacteria. This bacteria feeds on the sugar found in plaque and then emits an acid that breaks down enamel, this process is often referred to as a cavity. Beginning and maintaining a daily hygiene plan of brushing, flossing, and rinsing, can significantly decrease your chances of developing a cavity, but spots can still be missed. As the decay eats away at the enamel, a hole is opened up exposing the inner dentin of the tooth. Bacteria can even move through the dentin reaching the inner pulp of the tooth, causing an infection at the root.
Once the root is infected, your options become very limited. Your body is incapable of healing the root; the infection will continue to rage. What many patients are unaware of is the tiny branches that extend from one tooth to the next, the infection can travel these roots infecting nearby teeth as well. The results can be severe damage. When the root is infected, the patient has two options, the removal of the tooth or root canal therapy. We always recommend taking every effort to save a natural tooth structure before considering extraction.
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a dental procedure designed to save an infected tooth. We open the tooth, exposing the pulp and remove the inner portion of the tooth, along with the source of the infection. This inner tooth blend of pulp and nerves was necessary when the tooth was developing, but once the tooth is grown, it no longer is. We remove the materials and cleanse the area with an antibacterial wash. We then fill the space with a medicated rubber and close the tooth up. This process generally saves the life of the tooth, but the tooth is subject to becoming brittle, so we often recommend a dental crown to cap the tooth. Dental crowns provide strength and help the patient retain their natural teeth, which is always best for their oral health when possible.
What happens if I ignore an infected tooth?
Ignoring an infected tooth is not ideal for the oral health of the patient. Infections inside of teeth will not heal or go away; they will continue to rage and migrate spreading their infection. We can help you have healthy teeth, alleviate an infection in your body, and improve your function.