If you’re experiencing pain in a particular tooth when chewing, hot-cold sensitivity, swelling gums near a tooth, or constant toothaches, there’s a chance you could use a root canal. Root canals have a lot of negative hype about them, and while it would always be better if they weren’t needed, they can be a real teeth saver.
There are multiple possible reasons for these symptoms, but one common cause is inflamed or damaged tooth pulp.
The pulp is tissue that regulates the growth of teeth, providing oxygen and nutrients. Once the tooth is mature, the pulp is no longer necessary for the tooth to function. If it becomes damaged or diseased, it is removed. Since the pulp extends into the root canal of the tooth, it is necessary to drill out the diseased pulp and disinfect the tooth. This process is known as root canal therapy.
Root canal therapy is usually done under a local anesthetic. The dentist removes decay and fillings and extracts the dental pulp, then uses a special set of drills to thoroughly clean out the root canal and ensure that it is completely free of infection. The canal is flushed out with disinfecting material. This step is especially important, because if bacteria remains, the tooth will continue to be a source of infection. If your dentist is not confident that the tooth is completely clean and disinfected, the tooth will be packed with medicated material and you will need to return to finish the procedure.
Once the dentist sees that root canals are completely clean and infection-free, he or she will seal them with an inert rubber-type material. This completes the root canal procedure, but the work is not completely done yet. Because a significant amount of the tooth is drilled down, you’ll need a crown over the root canal-treated tooth. This protects the tooth from cracking or breaking further, which would result its loss. It also makes the tooth appear normal.
Root canal therapy is a valuable procedure because it allows you to keep the tooth and its root intact, and the crown is both aesthetically pleasing and nearly as strong as your original tooth. If you’re experiencing symptoms like those mentioned above, contact us today to see if root canal therapy can save your tooth.