What is Root Decay?


Pasadena Texas Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Nugent talk about Root Decay.


Root Decay / Root Cavities:

Like all tooth decay, root caries is caused by bacteria. When your mouth is not kept clean, bacteria can cling to your teeth to form a sticky, colorless film called plaque. This plaque can lead to tooth decay. In addition, for root decay to occur, the root of the tooth must be exposed. Unlike the crown of the tooth that is covered by enamel, the root is made of dentin which decays much easier. Changes in the amount of saliva in your mouth can also put you at increased risk for developing caries. Saliva contains many chemicals that keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Many medications, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and some diseases can cause your glands not to make enough saliva and therefore make cavities and other mouth problems more likely to occur.

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How do I know if I have root decay?

Many people who suffer from root decay are unaware of it. The warning signals that frequently accompany tooth decay, such as sensitivity to cold or sweets, may not be present because it happens near or even below the gum line. Additionally, as we age, our teeth lose some of their sensitivity and may not alert us to a problem. When Dr. Nugent or your hygienist may feel the softened root with a dental instrument during a professional cleaning or exam, root caries is frequently first discovered. Finding root caries in between the teeth can be made much easier with the aid of radiographs (x-rays).

What can be done to repair the damage to the tooth?

Root caries is very deceptive. Even when the cavity can be seen with the eye, it often appears small and not very alarming. However, because the damage is to the foundation of the tooth, a little damage can weaken the entire tooth and put it at risk for breaking off to the gum line. To illustrate, perhaps you have seen a large tree that appeared to be healthy but fell down because it was rotten at the root. Similarly, what appears to be a small amount of damage to the tooth may require a crown instead of a filling. Damage may have gone all the way to the pulp (inside) of the tooth and may require endodontic therapy (root canal) to prevent pain and infection. At times, so much damage has been done the tooth must be removed. That is why it is so important to have frequent exams so that root caries can be found early.

What can be done to prevent root decay?

Since root decay is caused from bacteria, the most important thing you can do is to keep your teeth clean every day. If your gums have receded, cleaning can be more difficult. In addition to keeping your mouth clean, fluoride is very important in the prevention of root caries. Your diet is also a very important factor because certain foods and snacks can greatly increase the number of bacteria that forms the decay-causing plaque. Finally, frequent professional cleanings and exams can help prevent root caries or find it early when it can be more easily repaired. We are here to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime!

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Root cavities are one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Root cavities attack the hidden part of the tooth, the root, and are likely to occur when the gum has receded due to gum disease or brushing too hard. Seniors are more likely to develop root cavities due to receding gums, dry mouth, arthritis, and poor eyesight. Preventing root cavities is the best way to deal with them in the first place. A proper oral hygiene regimen will make your chances as good as they can be.

A proper dental hygiene regimen consists of brushing and flossing twice daily. It is best to do this about an hour after eating, as eating increases the acidity in the mouth and weakens tooth enamel. A multi-tufted toothbrush with soft bristles works best for the average person. Fluoride toothpaste strengthens tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay and even reversing early tooth decay. When brushing and flossing, discuss the problem with a member of the dental treatment team for tips and special tools.

People who suffer from dry mouth can try drinking more water and sucking on sugar-free hard candies. The most important details in this text are that candies containing sugar are best avoided, and that dentists should visit their office regularly to get rid of any bacteria-breeding plaque and tartar. If some teeth are at risk, the dentist may use topical fluoride or other preventative measures to strengthen them. Treatment of root cavities is the same as treating other forms of tooth decay, but it can differ significantly from treating other forms of tooth decay. Patients should seek treatment as soon as possible for any signs of gum disease, as periodontal disease often leads to gum recession, exposing the roots of teeth and putting them at risk for root cavities. Treatment can sometimes lead to gum reattachment or grafting surgery to facilitate tissue regeneration.

Dr. Nugent’s office is located at 3421 Burke Rd Ste A, Pasadena, Texas 77504. He focuses on Cosmetic, Family, Implant and Sedation Dentistry. His amazing bed side manner and clinical skills make him a patient favorite. Our office sees patients from Pasadena, Deer Park, La Porte, League City, Friendswood, Sea Brook, and Houston, Texas.