What You Should Know About Tooth Decay and Root Canal Therapy

Did you know that over 90% of adults in America under the age of 60 have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth? Cavities are also the number one chronic disease among school-aged children in America. When caught early, tooth decay can typically be treated or reversed with minimal invasion. However, severe tooth decay typically requires a bit more effort to treat, if it can be saved at all. If the decay reaches the center of your tooth, called the pulp, then a root canal procedure may be necessary. Although root canal treatments have a bad reputation among certain people, they actually relieve the discomfort of your decayed tooth rather than cause more. To help clear the confusion about root canal therapy, Astoria dentist Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz explains the progression of tooth decay, and why a root canal treatment may actually help save your tooth.

The Formation of Tooth Decay

When you eat acidic foods or drink acidic beverages, that acid attacks and weakens your tooth enamel. When you eat or drink something sugary or loaded with carbohydrates, the bacteria in your mouth convert them into acid, which also attacks and weakens your teeth. Under this double acid attack, your teeth can soon fall victim to acid erosion and bacterial infection. Once your enamel is too weak to repel bacteria, the germs slip past it to reach the underlying tooth structure, called dentin. If caught before the enamel is fully compromised, the early stage of tooth decay (called demineralization) can often be reversed with improved oral hygiene practices and perhaps fluoride treatments to strengthen your enamel.

How is a Root Canal Treatment Beneficial?

Once decay reaches past the enamel, the infected tissue must be removed as soon as possible. Unfortunately, early tooth decay does not typically generate physical discomfort, and the disease is usually not detected until it has progressed into the tooth structure. If the decay reaches the center of your tooth, the nerves and blood vessels that live there can die shortly thereafter and the roots that are embedded into the jawbone can carry the infection to other areas of your mouth. A root canal procedure removes this tissue to prevent further damage, then Dr. Leibowitz can restore it with a dental filling to maintain the remaining tooth structure’s integrity. The alternative would be to allow the infection to continue unchecked, in which case you would soon lose your tooth and possibly others.

Call Us Today!

If you’d like to learn more, or would like to schedule a consultation with your Astoria family dentist to treat your tooth decay, contact Dr. Leibowitz by calling our Astoria dental office at (718) 728-8320. Located in the 11106 area, we proudly serve patients from Astoria, Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the surrounding communities.