Root canal: how to get rid of dead nerves and prevent infections

While bacteria are always a threat to oral health, an infected root canal can be the gateway to serious dental hazard

Even though a vital tooth nerve is not essential for the good health of someone’s teeth, a damaged or dead one can lead to serious inflammation and to the creation of dangerous abscesses that can put the patient’s health at risk.

A tooth has two main parts:

  • The crown, coated by the enamel and mainly formed by the dentine, and
  • The root, coated by the cementum and enveloping the dental pulp which contains the tooth’s nerve.

The root canal is the natural cavity that forms at the centre of the tooth containing the pulp, made up of the nerves themselves and of blood vessels. Whenever bacteria access this root canal and infect the pulp, it begins to die. After this, bacteria usually create puss pockets, increase and extend from the end of the root to the gums and soft tissues, which become infected and inflamed. This can cause severe toothache, swelling, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, as well as more severe problems such as bone loss or drainage problems.

Because tooth decay is the main cause of root canal infections, a good oral health is essential to prevent major risks for the teeth and gums. These not only affect to the general health of the patient, but also can make impossible for him to receive dental treatments he might need. Dental implants and gum disease are, for example, mutually exclusive, as it can be the use of teeth straightening procedures such as Invisalign braces.

Whenever suffering from such condition, a root canal procedure can be performed by the endodontist in order to re-establish the good state of the teeth. During the treatment, the specialist dentist accesses the pulp chamber to remove the dead nerve and pulp from the root canal cavity before filling it to prevent further risk of infection. Even though in about 9 out of 10 cases the tooth can survive many years after a root canal procedure, the chances of losing it grow exponentially the more time the problem is left untreated. But not only is this, but the risk of developing further infections and major dental problems greater too.

Once the procedure is over and the patient is properly recovered from the treatment,if he doesn’t have any gum disease, an implant can be placed in that space if needed. In these cases, dental care becomes even more important than usually to ensure a proper healing and the maintenance of a good oral health. Keeping a high standard oral hygiene, avoiding too much sugary food and quitting smoking are some of the advices given by dentists regarding both root canal procedures and dental implants aftercare.

Paying attention to the signs of potential hazard is not only a prevention against current problems, but also for future dental needs

Latest News