How Do You Know When You Need a Root Canal?

Root canal therapy is a common dental procedure that skilled dentists perform to save a tooth with damaged pulp. Every tooth we grew contains this essential pulp. It contains the life-giving nerves and blood vessels needed to sustain healthy teeth and keep them thriving and firmly planted in our gums. Damage to the pulp of a tooth from invading bacteria can compromise the tooth itself and result in infection that can negatively affect your smile, oral health, and overall health. Intervention by root canal can save that tooth and prevent the bacterial infection from spreading harm. 

While you may be hoping that you will not need to undergo a root canal, if your tooth's pulp is damaged, it's more likely than not that the damage to the pulp is irreversible and the pulp must be removed. Prevention through diligent oral care and dental checkups can help you protect your other teeth from the same fate.

Your teeth are naturally encased in a thin protective layer of tooth enamel. If the tooth enamel is penetrated, your pulp becomes vulnerable to harmful bacteria. There are a couple of common ways bacteria can access your tooth pulp, requiring the need for root canal treatment.

Harmful acids in your mouth

Acids from the foods you eat and drink and created by the bacteria that develops in your mouth can eat through tooth enamel. Once the tooth enamel barrier is breached, bacteria can access the pulp, making it vulnerable to damage and infection.

Injuries to the mouth

Accidents happen. And when they include injury to your mouth area, your tooth pulp can become at risk for infection. Blunt trauma to your jaw or teeth often knocks teeth loose, exposing the pulp to the open. Even if a crack in your tooth enamel is too small to see, it is still possible for bacteria to enter through these microscopic openings and destroy your pulp.

If you would like to discuss whether a root canal may be right for you, including the cost of a root canal and what is involved in the root canal procedure, we invite you to book a consultation with Dr. Diane Pham. It's definitely better not to wait when it comes to saving your tooth!