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Root Canals

Bacteria has Destroyed the Inside of a Tooth.

01/23/2008

Question:

An elderly loved one just had a root canal, and was told that bacteria had already destroyed the pulp inside the painful tooth all the way to the bone. With this kind of situation would it be better to go ahead and extract the tooth? Also, what about the possibility of cancer?

Answer:

Bacteria invading the pulp is one of the reasons that a root canal is necessary. These bacteria give off products that can destroy the bone around the tooth. The bone in the area can heal once the root canal is completed and the source of the infection is removed.

I think this sounds scary because you have concerns about the root canal process. I'm not sure what you are asking relating to cancer, but bone destruction when related to a tooth infection is not related to cancer.

I recommend visiting the following website to help visualize what is being done when a root canal is performed. Hopefully this will help with any concerns. http://www.aae.org/Patients/Endodontic_Treatments/Root_Canals.aspx

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Response by:

Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS
Assistant Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University