When many people think of treating tooth decay, they think of filling a cavity with a tooth-colored filling. Therefore, they may be surprised to learn that their condition is more severe than they expected, and that restoring their tooth may require root canal treatment, instead. When tooth decay is allowed to get severe enough, it affects more than just the main structure of your tooth, which a tooth filling is meant to restore. Today, we examine what it means when your tooth needs root canal treatment, and why treating a cavity as early as possible is the key to avoiding it.

The severity of internal tooth decay

The reason many people associate tooth decay treatment with tooth fillings is because they’re made to address more common, milder cases of tooth decay. This works by cleaning and filling the cavity that has formed in the main part of your tooth structure, called the dentin. In more severe cases of tooth decay, the infection in your tooth affects more than just the dentin, but also the inner chamber of your tooth known as the pulp. Inside this chamber, the infected tissues, nerves, blood vessels, and more can pose a much higher risk to your oral health, cause more intense levels of discomfort, and require more involved treatment than a tooth filling to address.

What does root canal treatment mean?

Root canal treatment is the process of carefully removing the infected nerves and tissues from within a tooth’s pulp chamber and root canal, as well as any lingering infected tooth structure. This is accomplished in a way that allows your dentist to access the interior chambers of your tooth without requiring significant alterations to your tooth’s main structure. Once the tooth infection is removed, your dentist can fill the root canal and pulp chamber with a strong, biocompatible material, restoring the tooth’s strength and sealing off its vulnerable inner structures.

How to avoid the need for root canal treatment

The best way to avoid the need for root canal treatment is to prevent tooth decay from forming at all. The key to this is to practice consistently good dental hygiene, meaning brushing your teeth twice and flossing at least once every day. It also includes visiting your dentist regularly for routine checkups and cleanings. If you do develop tooth decay, then cleaning and filling the cavity as soon as possible is the next best strategy for avoiding root canal treatment. If treated early enough, you can stop the cavity from becoming severe and prevent the decay from reaching your tooth’s pulp and root canal.

Learn if your tooth needs root canal treatment

The purpose of root canal treatment is to save a tooth that is decaying on the inside, which makes it extremely important to treat the tooth as soon as possible. To learn more, schedule an appointment with us by calling Dreem Dentistry in Leawood, KS, today at 913-681-5500. We also serve patients who live in Overland Park and all surrounding communities.