Get to Know the Ins-and-Outs of Root Canal Therapy
When a tooth’s nerve is affected by infection or decay, the best solution is to undergo root canal therapy. As a means of saving the tooth, your Couchman dentist will remove any decay, bacteria, nerves, and pulp (or living tissue within the tooth) and fill the remaining space with medicated dental materials. This procedure will restore the affected tooth to its original function.
In most cases, our dentists will recommend a root canal as a means of saving a tooth that would otherwise need to be removed. Many of our patients approach us with the belief that tooth removal is the best solution to the problem, and to these patients we explain that an extraction is ultimately more problematic and costly.
While root canal treatment usually lasts a lifetime and has a high success rate, there are occasions in which the tooth will need to be retreated. If you have undergone a root canal and are now experiencing tooth infection, our dentists will see to it that you are properly treated.
If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms or signs, our dentists may recommend root canal therapy:
• Tenderness and/or swelling.
• An abscess on the gums.
• Severe pain and toothache.
• Sensitivity to cold and hot.
In some cases, there are no noticeable symptoms, but if your tooth is suffering from any of the following conditions, root canal therapy may be required:
• Trauma or injury to the tooth.
• Decay that has reached the tooth pulp (or living tissue within the tooth.)
• Abscess or infection that has developed at the root tip or inside the tooth.
Root Canal Therapy: What You Can Expect
A root canal can be performed by an endodontist (root canal specialist) or dentist, depending on the severity of the infection, and will usually be completed within two appointments. To begin with, the specialist will numb the tooth and place a sheet of rubber (or rubber dam) around the tooth to keep it free of saliva and dry. Then an access opening will be made on top of the tooth through which the bacteria, nerve tissue, and pulp will be removed.
After the tooth has been cleaned thoroughly, the dentist will seal it with a temporary or permanent filling, depending on the needs of the patient. The next visit will entail the sealing of the filling and placing of a crown (or cap.) This will ensure the protection of the tooth, restore it to its original function, and prevent it from breaking.
In some cases, the patient may experience tooth sensitivity following the treatment—but this will subside after the tooth has healed and the inflammation diminishes. Be sure to follow the care instruction given to you by your dentist: by adhering to good oral hygiene practices and regularly visiting a dental office, you can ensure the long life of your treatment.