Young Bui, DDS
30 East 40th Street Suite 1201
New York, NY 10016

How cavities become root canals

During our parleys with patients, we inform that they could experience toothache because of a cavity and tooth infection. The pain could become excruciating and unbearable when the infection in the enamel percolates to the dentin and then to the root canal (pulp). Patients can get relief from pain either through a cavity filling or via a root canal treatment.

Most patients cannot distinguish between a cavity and a root canal and often ask how cavities become root canals. In this blog, we shed light on what causes cavities and how they turn into root canals. We’ll also explore the telltale signs that indicate you may need to opt for a root canal. By the end you will know more on how you can prevent a cavity from developing into a root canal.

What leads to teeth decay?

A cavity is a depression or a gap in the tooth which develops as a result of decay. Consumption of foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates and smoking are two chief causes of tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth break down the sugary foods, leading to the release of acids that eat away at teeth.

Consequently, the teeth become infected, and it is the outermost layer (enamel) that gets affected initially. If the cavity is not disinfected and filled, the infection could permeate the middle and innermost layers, necessitating a root canal.

How cavities become root canals?

Your tooth has three distinct sections: crown, which is layered with enamel, dentin (middle section), and root canal or pulp that contains blood vessels and nerves. It is the enamel that gets decayed first, leading to a cavity, and the decay can be reversed by a filling. Left untreated, the decay could pervade the inmost layer-the pulp-and at this stage, you’ve to opt for a root canal to prevent the infection from spreading further.

How can you tell that you need a root canal?

You’ll realize that the infection in the cavity has spread to the nerve tissue fibers when you’re beset with one or more of these symptoms:

  • A tingling sensation when you consume a hot, cold or spicy food item
  • Severe toothache during mastication
  • Gum tenderness or inflammation
  • Teeth discoloration

How to prevent a cavity from developing into a root canal?

There’s no gainsaying that a root canal treatment tends to be more complex than a filling, and hence more expensive. If you wish to avoid going for a root canal, then we advise you to follow an oral hygiene routine. For instance, brush your teeth at least two times a day, and regularly floss them for checking plaque formation.

Most importantly, visit your local dentist once every three months for a thorough check-up.


Bryant Park Endodontics situated in Manhattan’s Town Square is a full-scale dental clinic, offering dedicated general, cosmetic, and endodontic dentistry services. Apart from furnishing the full spectrum of dental services, we also recommend that patients maintain good oral hygiene habits at all times. Many patients who visit us for a check-up or treatment report that they feel discomfort and pain in their teeth even after maintaining oral care practice, which may be signs of needing a root canal.

Get in touch with Bryant Park Endodontics today to book an appointment with one of our experienced endodontists. Visit our offices or call us at 646-205-3045.

One Response to How cavities become root canals

Leave a reply