Root Canal Therapy
Infected tissues in the tooth pulp can cause severe pain and eventually lead to the loss of the tooth. Root canal therapy, or a “root canal” is designed to remove the infected tissue with the goal of saving the tooth. In the past, before the advent of root canal therapy, the only treatment for affected teeth was to remove them. Today, root canal therapy is a common procedure that has a very high success rate. In the last ten to twenty years, there have been great innovations in the art and science of root canal therapy, and we strive to stay up-to-date with the latest diagnostic and treatment protocols.
Some indications that you may need a root canal treatment are:
- Lingering tooth sensitivity to cold liquids
- Lingering tooth sensitivity to hot liquids
- Tooth sensitivity to sweets
- Tooth pain due to biting pressure
- Impulsive toothache, such as that experienced while reading a book, walking, or other normal daily activities
- Constant or intermittent tooth pain
- Severe tooth pain
- Throbbing tooth pain
- Tooth pain that may occur in response to atmospheric pressure changes such as when flying or scuba diving
- Tissue swelling of the face.
Root Canal Therapy can typically be deferred for a day or two with over-the-counter painkillers to reduce the immediate pain and inflammation. We do recommend that you visit us as soon as possible for treatment to avoid any aggravated problems.
Teeth contain tiny passageways called root canals that extend to the tip of the root. The location and shape of each root canal vary from tooth to tooth. Teeth also have pulp, which contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. When a tooth becomes infected, it is usually related to the nerves in the root of the tooth and the infected nerves need to be removed. If left untreated, an infection can turn into an abscess, which is a much more serious problem that includes bone loss in the jaw.
Root canal therapy usually entails one to three visits. During the first visit, a small hole is drilled through the top of the tooth and into the pulp. Diseased tissue is removed, the inner chamber is cleansed and disinfected, and the tiny canals reshaped. The cleansed chamber and canals are filled with elastic material and medication designed to prevent infection. The tooth will receive a temporary filling between dental visits so it can heal. Finally, the tooth is permanently restored with a build-up and a crown.