You have likely heard that tooth trauma can lead to a root canal, but did you know that untreated decay can as well? If you fail to address tooth decay quickly, you might end up needing the procedure. Learn about the stages of tooth decay and the root canal process.
The stages of tooth decay
To understand how tooth decay can cause a root canalroot canal problem, it is important to be familiar with the stages of tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs in three stages, and when the decay reaches the third stage, a root canal is required.
Stage one of tooth decay
Decay begins on the surface enamel of the tooth. It starts eating away at the enamel and burrowing into the tooth during this stage.
Stage two of tooth decay
During stage two, the decay makes its way through the enamel all the way into the dentin. Then, it moves quickly toward the pulp, which is the soft tissue that is located inside the root canal. The pulp consists of living tissue that is full of nerves, which is why untreated tooth decay becomes painful at this stage.
Stage three of tooth decay
Stage three of tooth decay is the most serious. The untreated decay kills the nerves inside the pulp, leading to what many refer to as a dead tooth. Blood no longer flows to the tooth, and a root canal is needed, or the tooth will have to be removed.
The root canal process
A root canal sounds intimidating, but understanding the process alleviates some of the fear people have about the procedure. It is actually a relatively easy process.
The first visit
During the first visit, the dentist cleans the root canal. The dentist removes the pulp and then reseals the canal. A fully formed tooth does not require pulp to survive, so once the infection is removed, the tooth is no longer in danger.
The second visit
In most cases, people have to go back to the dentist to get a crown following a root canal. The crown strengthens the tooth and allows it to function fully.
However, sometimes a crown is not required. The dentist will examine the tooth, and if it is strong enough, the crown will not be necessary. In cases of decay, though, a crown is almost always necessary.
Avoiding a root canal problem
People can avoid getting a root canal by taking proper care of their teeth. It is important to brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. People also need to go to the dentist every six months.
Avoid dental issues
Do not wait until the third stage of tooth decay to seek treatment. Treat decay by the first or second stages to avoid any serious damage. If you fail to do so, the dentist might have to clean out your root canal and top it off with a crown. Proper oral hygiene and regular trips to the dentist are necessary to avoid this issue.
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