Since oral bacteria can travel throughout the body and increase the risk of everything from diabetes to cancer, the health of our teeth and gums affects our overall health.
Periodontal infections can eventually reach the jawbone and undermine the support for teeth, which can only be detected by a digital x-ray. If not caught in time, the teeth will fall out or need to be extracted. The soft connective tissue of the inner core of a tooth and its roots, known as the pulp, can also be infected by periodontal bacteria. In the early stages of periodontal infections, pain is rarely experienced.
Bacteria from cavities can eventually reach the pulp as well. When caught early, dental caries (also known as cavities) don’t cause pain and can be easily removed and filled with protective materials. Nevertheless, once the root canals are infected, whether due to caries or a periodontal infection, root canal treatment is required.
Endodontists specialize in cleaning out infected canals and filling them with a neutral material that prevents future problems. The popular term “root canal” implies something very painful, whereas root canal therapy relieves the pain caused by an infection of the canal.
Why save a damaged tooth and not just have it extracted and replaced with a dental implant? A tooth that is beyond saving and very loose should be extracted and replaced with an implant to prevent a bite misalignment that will cause further dental problems. The challenge of keeping your mouth healthy will persist even if you have an implant.
Endodontists have extensive training and special tools (including a high-powered microscope) to remove infected root canals and restore teeth to their original health. With layers of protection and connections to the gums and jawbone, teeth are surprisingly complex structures. The most beneficial thing you can do for your oral health is to preserve it instead of disrupting any part of it.
Once your oral health has been restored, brush for two minutes after breakfast and dinner and floss after your final snack before retiring to bed. Those with a history of regular periodontal infections should have their dental hygienist provide a regular professional cleaning. They should also ask if they need to use a water pick or small bristle brushes in order to remove the smallest food particles.