Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. This can sometimes be felt by the patient and is very painful. Often, the beginnings of an abscess will not be felt at all, but will be visible in an x-ray. In order to save the tooth in this type of situation, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed. The resulting space is then filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restores the tooth to its full function.
Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and need to be removed. If the infected nerve isn’t removed, pain and swelling may start or get even worse. There’s the misconception that removing a tooth with problems is the solution. What’s not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and can cause significant problems for adjacent teeth later on.
Root Canal treatment has always gotten a bad rap for being extremely painful and costing a lot. With modern technology and state-of-the-art dental instruments, our dentists are able to treat a tooth with little or no discomfort while keeping the costs low for the patient. Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure involving one to two visits and can be done the same day you come in for any of your dental visits. Best of all, it is a great option that can save your tooth and your smile.
Reasons for root canal therapy:
- Decay has reached the tooth nerve
- Infection inside the tooth
- Abscess has formed at the root tip or in the gums
- Injury or trauma to the tooth.
- Severe toothache pain
- Sometimes no symptoms are present
- Swelling and/or tenderness
What does root canal therapy involve?
A root canal procedure can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).
While the tooth is numb, an access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed to insure only healthy tooth structure is left.
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling called a build-up or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.
Except for rare occasions, teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.
You will be given care instructions after each appointment.
If you have any questions, give Orchard Dental a call and we’d be happy to help you with your dental care.