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Causes of Root Canal System Infections

You’ve probably heard it over and again since you were a child, from your family, your dentist and your doctor: practicing good oral hygiene is key to maintaining overall health. A good dental hygiene routine is crucial at any age to prevent a range of health problems, including root canal system infections. However, not all causes of root canal system infection are preventable. Learn these main root canal causes now so you can do your best to avoid root canal therapy in the future.

Damage to the Tooth

Causes of Root Canal System InfectionsWhen a tooth chips or cracks, and the fracture reaches the pulp, it may require root canal therapy.* Additionally, if a tooth is hit with great force, the nerve can be severed at the end of the root, which can eventually cause the nerve to die.* This can be problematic because when nerve tissue is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria can begin to multiply within the pulp chamber,**which will require root canal therapy to resolve. While damage to a tooth may not necessarily be preventable, prompt professional care can prevent an injured or chipped tooth from becoming a much larger problem.

Repeated Dental Procedures

Dental procedures can produce significant stress on a tooth, with repeated drilling causing inflammation of the tooth pulp.* When the pulp is damaged, it breaks down, and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber.*** The bacteria and other dying pulp remnants can cause an infection or abscessed tooth,*** which will require root canal therapy. Taking good care of your teeth post-treatment can go a long way in preventing the need for retreatment.

Deep Decay

The same as with a damaged tooth, when tooth decay extends deep into the tooth and reaches the pulp, the pulp can become inflamed and infected with bacteria.* The subsequent pain is one of the telltale signs you need a root canal. Sometimes the infection will kill the nerves inside the pulp tissues and the pain will go away—but this is not an indication that the infection has been resolved. Only a dental professional can provide the care needed to remedy the infection, and may possibly even help you avoid root canal therapy.

Root Resorption

Root resorption is a condition in which the tooth structure dissolves away as a reaction to injury, trauma, tooth replantation or aggressive tooth movement during orthodontics.* Resorption can occur both from the outside of the root going inward, or it can progress outward from the middle or inside of the tooth.* As root resorption may not cause any pain, receiving regular dental x-ray analysis from your dental professional is necessary for identifying this root canal cause.*

How to Prevent a Root Canal

Now that you know a few of the signs you need a root canal, remember that pain, trauma to the face and a chip or crack in a tooth can all be indications that you should seek a professional opinion as soon as possible. Addressing any of these factors with the help of a dental professional before they become larger problems is essential. The old adage holds true here: prevention is the best policy. And when you know the common root canal causes, you can work at home and with your dental professional to care for your teeth in the best way possible.

When Prevention Isn’t Enough

For many people, even good oral hygiene and regular professional dental care may not prevent a root canal system infection. If infected or inflamed pulp must be removed to repair or save a tooth, an endodontist may perform a root canal treatment.†† While a standard root canal treatment can leave behind infected tissue, the GentleWave® Procedure effectively removes bacteria, debris and tissue.2 In fact, the GentleWave Procedure is so effective at cleaning and disinfecting the root canal system, there’s less chance of failure over time.4

Want to learn more about the minimally invasive1 alternative to standard root canal treatment? Find a GentleWave Provider today.


* MedicineNet

** WebMD

*** WedMD

New Horizons

†† AAE