Root canal therapy is a treatment method used to preserve a patient’s natural tooth. No one wants to lose a tooth and once a tooth is lost, replacement options are often stressful and expensive.
The term “root canal” actually refers to the natural cavity at the center of the tooth. Inside the root canal is soft tissue called pulp and the tooth’s nerve. This area may become damaged, allowing bacteria or debris to cause an infection or in extreme cases, an abscess. An abscessed tooth is one that is filled with pus and the infection spreads beyond the root of the tooth. An abscessed tooth is very serious and should be treated immediately as the infection can spread to other parts of the body. If you believe you have an abscessed tooth, contact our office immediately to schedule emergency care.
Root canal therapy may require more than one visit. Initially, an x-ray will be taken to evaluate the tooth and root canal, looking for signs of infection in surrounding areas. Patients may choose to undergo root canal therapy with the aid of sedation dentistry to make them more calm and relaxed. An access hole is drilled into the tooth and then the infected tissue, damaged nerve and any debris is removed from the tooth. The root canal is then thoroughly cleaned and polished. The tooth may be temporarily sealed to keep out food and saliva between appointments.
Next, the root canal is filled with a biocompatible rubber compound called gutta percha. A filling is placed on the tooth to cover the access hole created at the start of treatment or the tooth may be covered with a dental crown to provide added strength.
Root canal therapy has a bad reputation of being a painful procedure. The procedure itself is often no more painful than having a dental filling. The pain and discomfort come from the actual infection itself and patients will experience significant relief after undergoing root canal therapy. Root canals have a success rate of 95% and allow people to preserve their natural teeth.
If you suspect you need root canal therapy, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.