The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that 92 percent of adults have had dental caries in their permanent teeth. While tooth decay is largely preventable, it often goes untreated until the side effects become unbearable. Dr. Sameet Koppikar wants you to know that even in this situation extraction isn’t your only option. Root canal treatment has helped hundreds of Glendale area residents keep their natural teeth despite advanced tooth decay. They trust the Biltmore Dental Center team for straight answers and good advice.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is the destruction of tooth enamel. Oral bacteria form a film of plaque on teeth. These hungry microorganisms feast on starchy and sugary foods and beverages. As they eat they excrete acidic toxins that erode enamel, causing tiny pits to develop.
Your saliva contains enzymes that help to break down food particles, and minerals that combat tooth decay, but bacteria are persistent. The sticky nature of plaque keeps acids in contact with enamel especially in areas with gum recession, at the gum line, and around fillings and other dental restorations.
What happens when tooth decay isn’t treated?
With early detection and proper treatment, tooth decay can be halted before cavities become large. That saves discomfort, inconvenience, expense, and impact to the appearance of your smile.
Without attention, a tooth with a cavity becomes sensitive to bite pressure and hot and cold temperatures. Sweets may also cause an “ouch.” Toothache may be intermittent or constant, throbbing or abrupt. Tooth structure becomes compromised, contributing to fractures and breaks.
Eventually, deep decay allows the nerve to become inflamed and infected. A pocket of pus forms, creating intense pressure. Pain is acute, and the mouth or cheek may swell.
The purpose of root canal treatment
The goal of root canal therapy is two-fold. First, it gets you out of pain quickly. Second, it avoids the need for extraction.
After you are thoroughly numbed, Dr. Koppikar opens the tooth, alleviating the pressure from infection. Decay and damage are removed, along with the pulp and nerve from the root canal. The interior of the tooth is sanitized and sealed, then closed with a temporary filling. You get immediate relief, and the area heals quickly. Any residual discomfort can usually be managed with over the counter analgesics, but Dr. Koppikar may prescribe something stronger and possibly antibiotics.
You return in a few weeks. The filling is gently removed and a beautiful porcelain crown is placed to protect and strengthen the tooth. In some cases, the whole procedure can be done in just one visit, with Dr. Koppikar creating the crown immediately using CERC technology.
The best tooth decay treatment for Glendale area patients is prevention! But please don’t hesitate to call Biltmore Dental Center at (602) 954-8200 if you have advanced tooth decay. You won’t get a lecture – you’ll get compassionate care that may include root canal therapy to save your tooth.