What Is Root Canal Therapy?
Inside every tooth is a natural cavity called the pulp chamber, which contains soft pulp tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. Root canal therapy is an endodontic treatment designed to repair and save teeth with inflamed or infected pulp, usually resulting from extensive decay, chips, fractures, or trauma. Root canal therapy is a relatively simple and comfortable treatment that relieves pain, saves damaged teeth, and restores healthy smiles.
Why Is a Root Canal Treatment Necessary?
Inflammation or infection of a tooth’s pulp cannot heal on its own. Left untreated, the infection will progress, potentially causing oral health complications. These include an abscess of the tooth, bone loss around the root of the tooth, drainage into the cheeks or gums, or swelling of the face, neck, and surrounding areas. The infection can also enter the bloodstream and cause health complications.
The only alternative to a root canal treatment is having the affected tooth extracted. We usually recommend replacing a missing tooth using a dental implant, partial denture, or bridge to prevent complications resulting from leaving a gap in your smile. Root canal therapy offers a highly effective option to save natural teeth and restore healthy, functional smiles!
What Are Signs You Need a Root Canal Treatment?
Signs and symptoms of tooth pulp damage requiring root canal therapy include persistent dental pain, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, gum tenderness, tooth discoloration, or swelling of the face or cheeks. If you experience any of these symptoms or have any concerns, contact Heather Ridge Laser Dentistry for a consultation. Dr. Nallasamy will evaluate your condition and determine whether you require root canal therapy.
What Is the Root Canal Procedure?
In most cases, root canal therapy requires a single visit to complete. However, the procedure sometimes takes two or more appointments. The goal of the treatment is to remove the damaged pulp and restore the tooth to its health, function, and natural appearance.
Dr. Nallasamy will start by performing an oral exam and taking x-rays of the affected tooth, then numb the area with local anesthesia for your comfort. She will place a dental dam over the tooth to isolate it and keep saliva and bacteria away. Next, she will make a small opening in the tooth’s crown to access and remove any infected or damaged pulp and prepare the inside of the tooth for a filling.
After cleaning and disinfecting the area, Dr. Nallasamy will fill the root canals with a rubbery material called gutta-percha and use an adhesive cement to seal the space. She may place a temporary filling directly above the root canals.
After a root canal, the treated tooth becomes brittle and susceptible to fracture, which is why we typically recommend placing a dental crown for protection. Once in place, your new restoration will look, feel, and function just like a natural tooth. With proper oral hygiene care and regular visits to the dentist, a root canal-treated tooth can last a lifetime!