Understanding Root Canal Therapy
In the past, dentists had limited options in terms of keeping a patient's tooth when its pulp, the living tissue inside the tooth, had already become infected or decayed or suffered a trauma or injury. However, with advances in dental technology, dentists have become more knowledgeable. Dentists can now help their patients to keep their teeth instead of extracting and replacing them.
One particular procedure that allows dentists and patients to achieve this goal is root canal therapy.
Root canal therapy can save a tooth even when its nerve has become severely infected or decayed. This treatment includes the removal of the infected pulp, nerves, bacteria, and other decayed materials found inside the tooth. Once these have been removed, the resulting space is filled up and sealed.
Prior to the introduction of root canal therapy, the only course of action was to extract the affected tooth. While tooth extraction can benefit a patient over the short term, in the long run, the procedure can lead to further, and possibly costlier, complications.
Root canals offer several advantages. For one, you will get relief from a severe toothache you might be experiencing. Second, you get to save your tooth. That means that you can use it the same way you did prior to the treatment. Finally, you’ll prevent complications from tooth extraction like teeth drifting and shifting out of place, TMJ, and other bite problems.
What are the signs and symptoms that may mean you need to undergo root canal therapy?
Signs and symptoms include a severe toothache, sensitivity to hot and cold, swelling and tenderness, and abscesses on the gums. However, you should also be aware that there are instances where the pulp may have already died but will not exhibit any signs or symptoms.
The treatment can be done in one or two appointments.
Initially, the affected tooth will be numbed before a rubber dam is placed around it. The rubber dam helps keep the tooth dry. Afterward, an access hole is made on top of the tooth which allows for the use of root canal files. These instruments will be used for the removal of the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria in the affected tooth. If you have tooth decay, your dentist will also need to remove it.
After cleaning the tooth, it will be sealed using either a temporary or permanent filling. Then, a crown or cap will be placed over the tooth in order to protect it and prevent it from breaking.
If you wish to learn more about root canal therapy, please contact us today.