Category Archives: Root Canal | Endodontics
This post is the third in a series of seven posts regarding common dental problems.
Brushing and flossing daily will go a long way toward keeping your teeth and gums healthy. But sometimes trouble arises even when you do everything right (blame bad genes or bad luck). Here are the issues you should be on the lookout for and what to do to keep them at bay.
The pulp inside the tooth (which contains nerves) is damaged or becomes infected because of decay or injury. The root canal, which connects the top pulp chamber to the tip of the root, may become infected, too.
Who’s at risk?
Anyone with a deep cavity or a cracked tooth, which can let in bacteria. An injured tooth can have a problem even if it’s not visibly cracked or chipped.
What to do
If you feel pain in or around a tooth, see your dentist. She may refer you to an endodontist, who specializes in root-canal procedures. In one to three visits, the dentist will perform the notorious root canal (which is much less painful than it used to be). He will remove the pulp, clean the pump chamber, and root canal, then fill the tooth. Finally, he may seal the tooth with a porcelain crown.
Let’s face it, a root canal is as popular among dental patients as liver and onions is among school children. Just the mention of the name makes either group cringe.
However, thanks to improved dental techniques over the past years, the root-canal procedure is really no more likely to cause a patient discomfort than a basic filling. (Unfortunately, nothing can change the flavor of liver and onions!)
Basically, a root canal is necessary when a tooth’s pulp chamber, which contains nerves and blood vessels, becomes infected by decay or damaged by an injury. This treatment cleans out the pulp chamber in order to save the tooth.
Depending upon the extent of the infection, one to three office visits are needed for the root-canal procedure. The initial visit involves numbing the tooth so that the dentist can make an opening in the tooth to reach the pulp chamber. Next, the infected pulp is removed and the chamber and roots are thoroughly cleansed.
Complications arise if the tooth is abscessed, which means the pulp has died and the infection has entered the bone that anchors the tooth. The infection may need to be drained before the empty root can be filled.
Once the infection has been removed, then the pulp chamber and root-canal system are filled with a rubber like substance. Finally, to strengthen the tooth a build-up procedure is done and usually a crown is placed.
A tooth that has had this treatment is technically “dead” in that it can’t feel pain or hot or cold, but it actually functions just like any other tooth in your mouth in terms of drinking and eating.
If you are experiencing tooth or gum pain, please contact our office. Today’s dental treatments are no longer as painful as the diseased tooth. We are more than happy to review any dental procedures with you and help lessen your anxiety about dental techniques.