How Does a Cavity Lead to Root Canal Treatment?

When a cavity first develops, it often causes your tooth to become more sensitive as the decay behind it erodes your tooth structure. This is one reason why cavities are often treated before they become more serious, and before the discomfort they cause can become more intense. However, when a cavity isn’t addressed promptly, the tooth decay that caused it can continue to grow worse, affecting even more of your tooth’s structure. In severe cases, it can also infect the tissues and nerves inside the pulp of the tooth, which also travel through the tooth’s inner root canal.

What happens when a cavity progresses?

The development of a cavity can be easy to detect because of the tooth sensitivity that it causes. However, the progression of the cavity once it has developed isn’t always as easy to track on your own. If you hesitate, time is all the tooth decay requires to grow more severe. As this occurs, the decay, or infection, continues to erode your tooth structure, causing the cavity to grow larger, as well. A tooth filling can often be utilized to treat a mild or moderate cavity that only affects your tooth’s main structure, or dentin. Yet, if it progresses to the tooth’s pulp and root canal, it can lead to significantly more serious concerns.

When the decay reaches your tooth’s root canal

The reason a tooth filling can treat a mild cavity conservatively is because it stops the decay before it affects too much of your tooth’s structure. When the decay reaches your tooth’s inner pulp chamber and root canal, however, then a tooth filling procedure won’t be able to address it effectively. Restoring your tooth will involve more than just replacing decayed tooth dentin, but also the removing the tissues in your tooth’s inner chambers and restoring them to fortify the tooth structure.

Addressing severe decay with root canal treatment

The difference between filling a tooth cavity and treating an infected root canal is a question of how extensive the procedure is. In both cases, the goal of your treatment is to remove the oral bacteria that are infecting your tooth and any lingering infected tooth structure and/or tooth tissues. With root canal treatment, this involves carefully accessing the inner chambers of your tooth and removing the infected nerves and tissues, then filling the pulp and root canal chamber with biocompatible material.

Learn more about severe cavities and root canals

If a cavity becomes severe enough, the only way to treat it may be with root canal therapy. To learn more, schedule your appointment by calling Healthy Smiles in Gary, IN, today at 219-938-2637.