What is root decay ?

C’est quoi la carie radiculaire ? - Y-Brush

Tooth decay are a problem that affects many people, however as there are several types of cavities, it is necessary to know which type it is. In the case of cavities, it can be a little more difficult to identify.

Learn in this article everything about root caries so that you can get rid of this disease once and for all. 

Here's a guide to understanding what a root cavity really is so you know how to treat it.

What is root caries ?

Cavity is nothing more than the compromise of our tooth structure caused by a bacterial infection. This infection destroys the hard tissues that make up our teeth and is a disease that depends on several factors to progress. When we ingest a lot of carbohydrates, it is common that food residues remain in the mouth, and it is these residues that feed bacteria such as cariogens. They are responsible for the appearance of cavities.

And in the case of root caries, this lesion occurs at the root of the tooth, which makes it more difficult to identify. This type usually affects adults and elderly people, due to the retraction of the gums, which leaves the root of the tooth more exposed. This type of decay can lead to faster deterioration of the tooth tissue because the root of our tooth, which is the part affected by root decay, is not protected by enamel. In addition, this type of decay can cause more intense symptoms. 

What causes root cavities ?

This type of cavity usually occurs in older people because it develops in people who have receding gums, leaving the roots of the teeth exposed and vulnerable. And because the roots are not covered by your tooth enamel, they are more susceptible to bacterial action.

And if there's no dental care and good oral hygiene, cavities can eventually take hold at the roots of your teeth. This is one of the main causes of tooth loss in the elderly.

And the best way to avoid root rot is to prevent it, and the earlier that prevention begins, the lower the risk of developing root rot, especially if you are over 50. Because as we age, we are more and more exposed to the onslaught of disease, and that includes oral health. Therefore, we must be careful about the appearance of dental problems.

And the main one is root caries, which affects the root of the teeth. But thanks to advances in dentistry, it is possible to age in better health and with a better quality of life. Decreased physical abilities, smoking habits and certain medical treatments can contribute to the development of this type of cavity.

Here are some examples of causes of root cavities:

Decreased saliva formation

Saliva helps lubricate the mouth and is essential for maintaining oral health. And over time, our bodies decrease the flow of saliva, known as hypo-salivation.

This can be caused by diseases such as diabetes or certain side effects of medications. The acidic minerals in saliva help protect the roots of the teeth. So when they are missing, they can be vulnerable to bacteria. 


Poor diet can lead to cavities, as can root rot, which can be caused by foods that are too sweet and too acidic.


Poorly planned or manufactured dentures can make oral hygiene difficult. And this is one of the main causes of root caries, especially in the elderly.  

The lack of oral hygiene

And depending on age or even because of certain diseases, the elderly tend to change their hygiene behaviors.

Often, it is not because of neglect, but because they lose some of their motor coordination. And lack of hygiene can promote the development of cavities. In addition to maintaining this care, it is important that you follow up with your dentist and take preventive measures to avoid the development of any type of cavity.

Treatment of root caries

The treatment of this type of decay will depend on the location of the decay and its extent, as well as whether or not the tooth has a root canal. But generally, the treatment consists of a combination of dental procedures.

These procedures are done to recover the root of the affected tooth. We separate some of the procedures indicated in the therapy of this type of problem.

Here are the different types of root caries treatments:

Resin dental restoration

It is recommended when the removal of cavities occurs freely without direct contact with the gums or dental and pontic crowns. It is a quick treatment that requires only one consultation to be performed. Its aesthetic results are excellent and restore the harmony of the smile.

Resin dental restoration and gum surgery

In cases where the cavity formed by decay is below the gums, it can be difficult for the dentist to fit between the resin and the root surface. And here, the tooth restoration is done at the same time as the gum surgery. This procedure allows the dentist to have free access to the root of the tooth. And because it is a surgical procedure, it may require three days of rest, depending on where it is performed.

The prosthetic pin

In cases where decay in the roots of teeth with canals occurs frequently, it may be necessary to install a prosthetic pin so that its structure can recover. This procedure can prevent root fractures when chewing harder foods.

Dental prosthesis (porcelain crown)

In this technique, a porcelain crown is used to recover the lost structure. It can be combined with root canal treatment and the installation of a prosthetic pin, and may require up to six visits to the dentist.

Gingival plastic surgery

In the case of plastic surgery for root correction, there must be a recovery of smile aesthetics and there must be protection of the root surfaces. Depending on the location of the extent of the recession, gingival grafts may be required for surgical treatment to cover the gum.

Another procedure indicated for the treatment of cavities is filling, consult your dentist and find out which treatment is best for your specific case.

In any case, it is important to brush your teeth properly to limit the risk of further cavities. You can use the Y-Brush toothbrush. Indeed it is a toothbrush that removes 15% more plaque than a traditional toothbrush.  

We hope this guide has helped you understand what root caries is. The causes of decay are different for each person, so it is important to ask your dentist why. The treatment of root caries will depend on your dental fragility. However, if you follow this guide, root caries will no longer hold any secrets for you.


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