Root canal therapy is a dental procedure we perform to save a tooth after it has become severely infected. Prior to treatment, many patients express concern of pain or discomfort, but with advances in both technology and techniques, root canal treatment can be virtually painless. Our team at Parkway Dentistry at Langtree can help you feel comfortable while removing the infection and restoring the health of your tooth.
Why would I need a Root Canal?
Root canal therapy is needed when bacteria has extended through the enamel, through the dentin and into the root of the tooth where the pulp has become infected. The pulp has no way to fight the bacteria and therefore the infection is allowed to rage, killing the tooth, and can then infect neighboring teeth as well. Root canal therapy is the only way to remove the bacteria and save the tooth, without it the tooth may require extraction and it is always best to save natural teeth whenever possible.
The tooth root is a chamber made up of pulp which contains nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels. This combination is extremely sensitive to inflammation, so when it becomes infected it can be quite painful.
When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed you may experience some of the following symptoms:
|Toothache: The level of ache can vary. Some patients may experience an annoyance while others may find it impossible to take their hand away from their jaw because of the severe pain.
|Darkening of the Tooth: The darkening of a tooth can be an indication of trauma to the pulp, this may be similar to a bruising as it is an indication that trauma occurred.
|Sensitivity to Hot and Cold: Sensitivity can be an indication of thin enamel or exposed dentin, but it can also be an indication that the blood vessels and nerves in your tooth are infected or damaged. We would need to examine the area for more information.
|A Recurring Pimple on the Gums: An abscess, or pimple, that develops on the gum tissue is often referred to as a gum boil. The main cause of a gum boil is the presence of bacteria. It could be an indication of infection being present.
Root Canal Therapy Procedure
Once we have determined that Root Canal Therapy is needed, the first step is ensuring your comfort. Parkway Dentistry at Langtree will administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth, if the pain is severe, we can discuss other sedation methods including nitrous oxide to ease the discomfort. Once the patient is comfortable, we will begin.
To gain access to the pulp, we use a specialized drill to open the space. This part of the procedure is not painful in itself, but it exposes the infection that is already present and can be sometimes noted by the patient. We will then remove the infected material and any diseased portion of the root. We also remove the pulp, nerves and other tissue. It is okay to remove this material as it was needed to develop the tooth but no longer is needed once the tooth is grown. The area is cleaned using irrigation and an antimicrobial solution, this will reduce the likelihood of infection developing again if any material was missed. The root area contains tiny chambers that shoot off the main chamber and we want to stop any bacteria that may be lurking in those tiny chambers.
With the area now cleaned, we will then fill it with a material known as gutta-percha. This material seals off the area from bacteria while also providing strength to the structure of the tooth. The tooth is then closed with a filling material.
Root Canal Therapy, though necessary to save the tooth, is quite traumatic for the tooth. The tooth is subject to becoming brittle and can be subject to fracture. To prevent breakage, we will often suggest the placement of a dental crown to provide needed strength to the tooth structure. With a dental crown in place, you can resume the use of your tooth as you would any other tooth. As always, continue practicing strong oral hygiene routines, such as daily brushing and flossing.
Schedule An Appointment
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, you may need a root canal. Call (704) 662-0021 to schedule your appointment now!