What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. To save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function. To save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed, having a root canal is the popular choice among patients. While many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, what many do not realize is that extracting a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth. Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime. On occasion, however, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections. Some potential signs and symptoms that you may need a root canal include an abscess (or pimple) on the gums, sensitivity to hot and coldor severe toothache pain.
Why get Root Canal Therapy?
When decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip or injury or trauma to the tooth are all reasons why a patient would get a root canal.
What does the Procedure Involve?
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by Dr. Chao or Dr. Craw or an endodontist (a root canal specialist). While the tooth is numb, an access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments. Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.
Next the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling or build up will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.
What Happens After Treatment?
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed. You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will extend the life of your root canal treatment.
Request an Appointment
If you would like to make an appointment for a routine checkup, please send us an email or give us a call (714-572-2363).