Why Aging Teeth Need Specialized Root Canal Care
Having a tooth infection or tooth pain might indicate that you need a root canal. This procedure removes infected pulp from inside your tooth, easing pain and stopping infections from getting worse. When you are a senior patient, having a root canal done requires special care. Instead of having a dentist perform a root canal, you should see an endodontist. These specialists have the knowledge and expertise required for performing root canals in older patients. Learning more about aging and root canals can help you understand why seeing an endodontist is so important.
How the Aging Process Affects Teeth and Gums
As you get older, changes in your teeth and gums can lead to oral health problems, including pain and infections. During the aging process, cells in your body renew slowly, your bones can become more brittle, and tissues lose their elasticity. Your immune system might also not be as strong as it used to be, which can increase your risk of developing tooth or gum infections. If you do have an infection, the healing process might take longer.
The changes that happen as part of the aging process can result in a higher risk of having tooth decay or cavities, gum disease, and tooth infections. You might also have an increased risk of developing dry mouth due to lower saliva production. Having dry mouth raises your risk of having tooth and gum problems, including infections.
Root Resorption in Older Individuals
Infections and cavities aren’t the only oral health problems that can occur in older individuals. In some cases, tissues around a tooth can break down and be absorbed, which is known as root resorption. This is a process that is highly common in children since it occurs as they lose their baby teeth and develop their permanent teeth. Although root resorption is normal for children, it doesn’t happen often with permanent teeth until adults get older. In fact, research shows that root resorption happens frequently in adults aged 65 and up.
Root resorption can lead to tooth pain, swelling, loosened teeth, and other symptoms. This condition can also happen without any symptoms, although it can lead to complications, such as infections and severe pain. Root canals are a form of treatment often used to treat root resorption in older adults. This type of procedure can allow senior individuals to keep their natural tooth instead of having it extracted. However, when there is severe damage in the affected tooth, a tooth extraction might be needed.
Root Canals in Older Teeth
The structure of root canals and changes to dentin in teeth in older individuals can make root canals more difficult to perform. Endodontists have the right training to perform this type of procedure safely and effectively in senior patients. They know which instruments and methods to use for performing root canals in older individuals in order to treat infections, ease pain, or treat root resorption.
Endodontists can also provide senior patients with thorough root canal care instructions to ensure proper healing. This is important since older individuals might have a higher risk of infections and a lengthier healing process.
Importance of Prompt Treatment
When you are an older individual who has tooth pain or signs of a tooth infection, such as severe pain and swelling, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Infections can spread to other parts of your body, which can become life-threatening. This is more of a risk in senior patients who might have a weaker immune system. Seeking prompt treatment for a tooth infection or tooth pain helps reduce this risk.
When you get care for tooth problems as soon as possible, this also helps improve your chance of saving your tooth. Waiting too long for treatment might lead to the need for a tooth extraction, such as when there’s severe damage. Prompt treatment with a root canal can help you avoid having your tooth extracted. Keep in mind that losing teeth is becoming less common in older adults as more and more have routine dental care done over the years.
If you are a senior patient who needs treatment for tooth pain or a tooth infection, please contact Largo Endodontics. Dr. Ernest Rillman, our endodontist, has the expertise needed to evaluate your teeth and determine an effective course of treatment.
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