You may need Root Canal therapy if the nerve of your tooth has been damaged by decay, infection, or trauma. Because the nerve tissue is infected, it must be removed, along with bacteria and decay, to save the tooth. The space left, where the pulp and nerve tissue were, is cleaned and filled with a unique dental filling. This prevents bacteria from forming and helps to restore the tooth to its normal function.
Without a root canal, the tooth would continue to decay, and the infection would spread. Eventually, the tooth would be lost. Just pulling the tooth can be more costly because you’ll have to do additional restorative treatment to replace the missing gap. If you don’t fill that gap, the surrounding teeth can shift causing other tooth and oral problems.
Root canal treatment is very successful and sustainable. Good oral hygiene, habits and a healthy diet are critical to avoid recurrence of decay and infection.
Signs and symptoms that you could need a root canal include an abscess (a raised pimple) on the gums that may ooze pus, constant, severe, unprovoked pain, prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold, swelling and or tenderness in the area. Sometimes, there may be no symptoms and may or may not show on an x-ray.
A root canal involves several appointments and can be performed by a general dentist or an endodontist (a dentist that specializes only in root canals). After the tooth is numbed, a rubber dam is placed around the tooth to keep it dry and to protect the rest of the mouth from the dental materials used to clean the canal. An opening is made on top of the tooth to remove decay and reach the infected pulp and nerve tissue. Special dental files are used to remove the infected pulp, nerve tissue and bacteria, and clean out the canal. Once the canal is clean, it is sealed with a permanent filling and a temporary filling above the access hole.
Sometimes, if the infection is large, medication may be placed to minimize the disease and the permanent canal filling will be delayed until a follow-up appointment. Once the inflammation lessens and healing starts, any sensitivity you may be experiencing will subside. A week or two later, the permanent restoration, such as a filling or crown, will be placed. This protects the tooth, restores its shape, prevents it from breaking, and allows it to function fully.
There are many options to restore your teeth. We are here to educate you every step of the way. Should you need any restorative care, it’s important for you not only to have excellent oral health but to be educated about what’s going in your mouth. Give us a call, and we will help you achieve a healthier and brighter smile.