Tooth decay is a common threat, but for most patients who experience it, it’s often treated before it becomes a serious one. If it’s still mild or moderate, then you may be able to fill the cavity the decay has caused and protect the rest of your tooth structure from it. However, tooth decay isn’t always addressed in its earlier stages, and when it’s allowed to reach the inner areas of your tooth, filling it might not be enough. Fortunately, that’s what root canal treatment is for – to remove the more severe infection from inside of your tooth’s chambers to save and preserve the healthy,  natural tooth structure that remains.

When a tooth decays inside

In addition to being common, another important factor of tooth decay is that it’s progressive. Many people seek treatment for their mild tooth decay because of the discomfort that it causes, and therefore, can avoid the more severe symptoms and consequences that can occur when it progresses. Unlike mild or moderate forms of it, severe internal tooth decay means the inner pulp and root canal of your tooth have also become infected. The nerves, blood vessels, and other soft tissues that reside in these chambers will be directly impacted, and both the discomfort and threat of the decay will be several degrees more intense.

What root canal treatment accomplishes

The progressive nature of tooth decay is partly what makes treating it effectively a highly personalized process. The only way to save your tooth is to remove the harmful bacteria causing the infection, as well as any infected tooth structure still remaining. This is the goal of both a tooth filling procedure and root canal treatment, with the only difference being the amount of infected tooth structure and (in the case of root canal treatment) tissues need to be removed. Root canal treatment involves removing the infected nerves and tissues from within the pulp and root canal, then sealing these chambers in a similar (but more involved) manner as a tooth filling.

What this means for your tooth

By the time tooth decay reaches the inner areas of your tooth structure, it’s already reached its severe stage. At this point, the tooth’s health, integrity, and continued existence along your dental ridge can be significantly threatened. Root canal treatment doesn’t just alleviate the pain that’s associated with severe tooth decay; it also prevents the infection’s progression and its potential to threaten your oral health any further. If the infected tissues are removed and the tooth restored promptly, you have a good chance of saving the healthy, natural tooth structure that you still retain.

Learn if your tooth needs root canal treatment

Root canal treatment is designed to treat more severe levels of tooth decay, and it can often be the last chance to save a tooth before the decay leads to its loss. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling Silver Smiles in Silver City, NM, today at (575) 534-3699.