Tooth decay, which is the most common chronic dental health condition, is a progressive problem. Ignore it long enough, and it can become so serious that even a tooth-colored filling won’t be enough to save it. At our Albuquerque, NM, dental office, we can help patients address any level of decay that may affect their teeth, including severe cases that require more involved treatment. For instance, if your tooth decay is serious enough, we can recommend and perform root canal therapy to remove the decay from your tooth and restore the healthy, natural tooth structure that remains.
Early stages of a tooth decaying
Tooth decay starts with the erosion of the healthy enamel that surrounds and protects your healthy teeth. This enamel is made almost entirely of minerals, and as oral bacteria attack it, it loses its strength and integrity. It can regain this integrity by utilizing more minerals, such as calcium, but if the rate of erosion outpaces this remineralization, then it will grow too weak to repel harmful oral bacteria. Before long, bacteria can infect the tooth’s main structure, leading to the development and advancement of tooth decay. For many people, a consistent routine of excellent hygiene and regular preventive dental visits can help prevent this process from ever happening by controlling oral bacteria and keeping healthy tooth enamel strong.
Addressing the problem early
Tooth decay can have significant symptoms when it reaches its more severe stages. For example, the aching in your tooth that develops during minor decay will become exponentially more intense, and the cavity (hole) that decay leaves in your tooth will grow larger. In its earliest stages, tooth decay and its cavity can often be treated successfully with the help of a tooth-colored filling. This involves carefully cleaning away the harmful oral bacteria and infected tooth structure that remain within the cavity to stop the infection from spreading further. Then, we can place a tooth-colored, mercury-free filling in the cavity to restore your tooth.
The serious threat of infected root canals
When tooth decay becomes severe, that means it has progressed far enough to reach the tooth’s inner pulp chamber and root canal. This chamber, called the pulp, houses the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels, and its infection can lead to much more severe discomfort as well as a greater threat to your oral health. Fortunately, treating severe tooth decay is possible with the help of comfortable root canal therapy. The procedure involves carefully removing the infected nerves, tissues, and tooth structure from within the tooth, then filling the root canal and pulp chamber to reinforce the healthy tooth structure that remains.
Learn if your tooth needs root canal treatment
When tooth decay becomes serious enough, root canal therapy might be the only way to stop it from growing worse. If you hesitate too long, the decay may become too severe even for root canal treatment. For more information, schedule a consultation with us by calling Snow Park Dental in Albuquerque, NM, today at 505-299-2979.