Dental instruments

If you just had a root canal or are scheduled for one in the near future, you probably have a lot of questions. One question we get asked a lot is, “Does having a root canal mean that I will now need more of them?”

The short answer is no. Most teeth have developed a problem, which causes the pulp tissue to begin to die, but just because you have had one root canal does not mean you will require additional root canals in the future.

Our teeth undergo a lot of issues throughout our lifetime, and we are now keeping our teeth longer than ever and living longer than ever. The better you care for your teeth, the more likely you are to avoid the need for extensive dental care including root canals. But from time to time, dental issues may arise, and some of these issues will ultimately create the need for root canal therapy. What are some of these issues?

Decay

Tooth decay is the destruction of your tooth’s enamel and dentin, which are the hard outer layers of your teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack your teeth and, over time, the enamel and dentin can break down. This is the process that brushing and flossing disrupt.

Deep fillings

After you receive a filling, you may experience some sensitivity or pain. If your filling was very deep, the combination of decay and its removal may create pulpal inflammation. In some cases, the symptoms progressively worsen and the tooth may require endodontic treatment to resolve the toothache.

Cracks

Cracks in the enamel and dentin of a tooth can potentially lead to pulpal problems. It is more common for teeth with fillings to develop cracks, but fractures in unrestored teeth are also possible. Biting places stresses on the structure of the tooth. The bigger the fillings, the greater the chance of cracks developing. If the crack continues and involves the pulp chamber, endodontic treatment may be necessary. In the worst cases with cracks, the tooth may not be able to be saved.

Cumulative effects of multiple restorations

When successive restorative procedures are carried out on the same tooth, the tooth and pulp tissue undergo stress and can develop pupal symptoms. This is why it is important to minimize the decay episodes on any tooth.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease affects many adults in the United States. It can range from simple gum inflammation to major damage of your soft tissue and the bone that supports your teeth. Whether your gum disease is stopped, slowed or worsened depends on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day from this point forward.

Dr. Lavin’s tips to keep your gums and teeth healthy:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day (with toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association)
  • Floss regularly to remove plaque from between your teeth
  • Visit your dentist routinely for a check-up and professional cleaning (twice a year)
  • Don’t smoke (or quit if you do!)