Root Canal – Endodontics
What is a Root Canal?
When a cavity is left long enough, the decay can burrow into the deeper reaches of the tooth, causing extensive damage to tooth structure. When this damage goes beyond what can be treated by a filling, dentists can perform a root canal (or endodontics), preserving the tooth and retaining its original integrity, saving the tooth.
Technically speaking, endodontics is a dental specialty that concentrates on the study and treatment of dental pulp. If the dental pulp becomes diseased or injured, treatment is required in order to save the tooth. The most common endodontic treatment is root canal therapy. These experts are called endodontists.
Q. When is a root canal needed?
A. Root canal (or endodontics) procedure becomes necessary when a tooth becomes infected and has badly decayed. The procedure (see below) extracts decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshapes the canal, and replaces it with strengthening filler.
Why is an Endodontics Treatment Necessary?
There are a number of reasons why an endodontist will suggest a root canal treatment, these reasons include:
- Inflamed/infected tooth pulp
- Severe sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Tooth decay
- Chipped or broken tooth
- Blow to the tooth
- Swelling or tenderness near the infected tooth
- Repeated dental procedures on a tooth
If these conditions are left untreated, severe tooth decay can occur reaching the root of the tooth, causing extensive damage to the tooth structure.
How Do I Know If I Need A Root Canal?
A root canal becomes necessary when a tooth is badly decayed and becomes infected. The procedure extracts decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshapes the canal, and replaces it with strengthening filler. The tooth may have persistent shooting pain that can become unbearable. If the tooth is showing signs of discomfort make sure you get scheduled for an appointment right away.
When a cavity is allowed to sit for too long, extensive damage to the tooth structure could occur. This happens when the decay goes deeper into the tooth, and when this damage goes beyond what can be treated by a filling. This is when dentists have the option to perform a root canal. Root canals help to retain the original integrity of the tooth.
This outlines the importance of getting a cavity filled in a timely manner, so more invasive procedures like a root canal won’t have to be performed. Even more ideally, is preventative care; such as brushing your teeth, flossing and going to the dentist on a regular basis.
Work with your dentist and/or endodontist to discuss the details of any endodontic treatments and any possible alternatives.
It is commonly believed that root canals are painful, but they are actually similar to having a cavity filled, producing minimal pain.
- Patient undergoes anesthesia.
- A dental dam is used to isolate the tooth.
- The tooth is opened so that the infected or dead pulp can be removed.
- The tooth is thoroughly cleaned.
- The dentist uses special tools to reshape the canals.
- The tooth is filled with biocompatible filling material.
- A temporary covering is used to cover the access opening.
- Patients MUST see their regular dentist quickly for a permanent restoration of the tooth.
Do you need a root canal? Contact our office to schedule an appointment.