Root canal therapy is a method of preventing tooth infection in a tooth whose structure has been damaged due to decay or trauma. Damage is possible when decay works its way around a filling or when a filling comes loose, when a tooth is cracked or broken due to trauma, or when unchecked tooth decay makes its way into the pulp, or fleshy core, of a tooth.
Sometimes it is obvious that root canal therapy is needed due to the appearance of symptoms. These include tooth sensitivity, pain in the tooth, pain while chewing, ear or eye pain, the breaking of a tooth, and pain or swelling in the jaw. It is possible that nothing indicates that there is a need for root canal therapy and that our dentist finds it upon examining your teeth during a regular dental cleaning.
Nothing beats a natural tooth for function or form, so retaining as many and as much of your natural teeth for as long as possible is one of the main goals of dentistry, and root canal therapy is no different. With a root canal, the diseased enamel (outer layer), dentin (inner layers), and pulp (fleshy core including nerves, blood vessels from the jaw, and connective tissue) are removed. The empty hollow of removed material is then smoothed so that it can be filled without leaving spots for bacteria to hide. The hollow is disinfected, the space is filled with a rubber-like substance, and topped with a temporary filling or left open to drain. Antibiotics may be administered to fight any possible infection that may have spread. During the next visit, the area is carefully examined for inflammation and healing, and a permanent crown is placed to protect the site from the forces of chewing.
If the decay and infection are removed successfully, and the blood supply to the tooth is still intact, the treated tooth will remain healthy, and the root canal will maintain the health of the tooth. Call today if you are experiencing any tooth pain or if you would like to learn more about our dentist.