A tooth that has had root canal treatment is at risk of tooth decay and gum disease, just like a tooth that has not had root canal treatment. The only difference between the two is that a root canal treated tooth has no nerve and blood supply, and it is in no way sensitive to hot or cold foods.
Once a crown is placed over the treated tooth, the original structure of the tooth is no longer visible above the gum line. Because of this, many patients believe that there is no chance of developing tooth decay. However, decay can form around the edges of a crown, and if left untreated, it could ultimately lead to tooth loss. The fillings and crown that is placed over the treated tooth protect the tooth against damage – a root canal treated tooth tends to dry out and break – but not against decay.
Dental decay – or caries – is an infectious disease caused by oral bacteria. But just having the bacteria present in your mouth does not mean you will develop decay. In order for decay to develop, factors such as sugar must be present. When you ingest a meal containing sugar, the bacteria consume those sugars. Upon consumption of those sugars, they release acid. That acid goes on to attack the mineralized part of teeth – the enamel – and weakens it. Over time, the hard enamel shell of the tooth is dissolved, leading to cavitation. This decay process can occur on any surface of the tooth regardless of whether the tooth is vital (a tooth with nerves and blood supply) or non-vital (a tooth that no longer has access to nutrients and blood flow).
Proper brushing and flossing, along with regular dental check-ups can eliminate oral bacteria caused by sugar and acid, and prevent decay as well as any gum problems. If you have a root canal treated tooth/teeth, and would like to know how you can ensure that your tooth lasts a lifetime, contact a dentist in Claremont today.