The mere mention of a root canal procedure can make the mightiest of men cringe. Some people would rather risk the extreme tooth sensitivity taking their chances with a little mild tooth decay. Besides, your body fights infection, so as long as you keep brushing and flossing, the infection should go away, right? Wrong. Although discomfort can be experienced at the beginning stages of a cavity, the sensitivity can be a warning that the decay has already reached the center of your tooth, and you are in danger of losing that tooth. Also, tooth decay means microbes are essentially eating your tooth away into nothingness. In other words, it will not go away on its own, and treatment is necessary to stop it. These myths, along with the myth that root canal procedures are painful, are probably responsible for as much tooth loss as tooth decay itself. In order to clarify lies that may cost you your continued good oral health, Dr. Michael Young explains the need for a root canal procedure, and why neglecting one can cost you more than just the loss of one tooth.
Why Does My Tooth Hurt?
If the excruciating discomfort of a sensitive tooth is not enough reason to compel you to undergo a root canal procedure (if necessary), then let us consider why your tooth is sensitive and why the procedure would be needed. Tooth decay occurs when acids attack your teeth. The first line of defense, your tooth enamel, has no nerves, so you don’t feel these attacks. In fact, the only part of your tooth that has any nerves or blood vessels is the very center of your tooth, called the tooth pulp. If your tooth hurts, it could mean that the decay has already reached the center of your tooth and has infected the pulp, which can cause the tooth to form an abscess (a collection of infected material, or pus). The infection can continue to spread down through the canals of the tooth root that are anchored into the jawbone, leading to tooth loss, bone degradation, and further infection.
Why Do I Need a Root Canal?
Contrary to what the legends tell you, a root canal procedure is meant to relieve the discomfort of tooth decay or a deep fracture, not exacerbate it. Removing the infected or irritated tissue and replacing it with man-made material means that your tooth is no longer living, but it can be retained with a dental crown. Dr. Young utilizes state-of-the-art technology and micro-tools to reduce the potential of failure. If you neglect this procedure, your only other options will be to allow the infection to cause your tooth to fall out, or have the tooth extracted to prevent the infection from reaching the tooth’s supporting bone structure.
Don’t let fear or myth prevent you from protecting your oral health. If you are in or near the 70508 area and would like to know more about your oral health, call our Lafayette dental office at (337) 237-6453 to schedule an appointment with your Lafayette dentist.