Root canals. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who actually enjoys getting them done, and yet, they are a vital part of keeping your teeth in healthy, working order.
That said, just how important are they? And, on that note, what happens if you just ignore the issue? In order to answer these questions, we need to take a look at why they are even necessary in the first place.
What is an infected root?
From time to time, one of your teeth may develop an infection in its root. This is often caused by general decay, but can also happen due to trauma or another form of direct injury.
Regardless of how it happens, the result is the same; the “pulp”, or nerve-endings that supply blood to the tooth, is infected by bacteria. Over time, this bacteria feasts upon this sensitive area, causing swelling, discomfort, and a host of other nasty issues within your gums.
Worse still, these infections can spread rapidly throughout other areas of your mouth. This can cause all manner of pains and discomforts, affecting your ability to talk, eat, and perform other basic activities. For this reason, a root canal is highly advised if you suspect you have any issues with your teeth or gums.
Why are root canals necessary?
Root canals serve an essential function. They are relatively simple procedures and do not often involve a large amount of pain, as their reputation would have you think. Basically, the reason that they are so important is that they act as the first line of defense against the spread of internal bacteria. By cleaning out the pulp of the infected tooth, the risk of bacteria spreading to other areas is largely managed.
In addition, getting a timely root canal often means that you are able to save the tooth itself, which is obviously preferable to extraction. Root canals help the body where it is otherwise helpless; under normal conditions, white blood cells would be sent to fight off an injection. But, in this case, the pulp is the main avenue for blood flow. When it is compromised, it is very difficult for this natural defense mechanism to have any effect.
What is the worst that could happen?
As mentioned above, if your injected root is not treated, it can eventually spread its injection to other areas of the mouth. Left untreated for long enough, it can actually spread throughout the entire body. It can also lead to the cracking of one or more of your teeth, requiring that they be completely extracted. This, in turn, opens up the potential for all manner of dental issues, such as the shifting of your teeth, which can even result in changes to your facial appearance as bones begin to move around on their own.
Nobody looks forward to getting a root canal done, but trust us, it’s better than the alternative. Keeping your teeth in good condition now will pay off in droves, later on, so don’t neglect them. You’ll thank yourself down the road.
Author: Peter Mayhew
Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.