When the nerve of a tooth becomes infected or a tooth is severely damaged from injury exposing the pulp, a root canal may be needed to save the tooth.
When would I need a root canal?
The dental pulp is soft tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed, treatment is necessary to prevent the problem from spreading. Pulpal inflammation or infection is typically caused by deep cavities, fractured teeth, or other severe injuries to the tooth. All of these scenarios can cause bacteria to enter the pulp. If left untreated, the inflammation within the tooth can spread to the surrounding area causing swelling and pain. Without a root canal, the only treatment available to the tooth would be extraction.
Why is it important to prevent extraction?
When a tooth is extracted and not replaced, the surrounding teeth may shift. This can affect how your teeth occlude or bite together. Missing teeth can also affect the overall health of your jaw. The bone in the area of the missing teeth will eventually start to resorb, affecting the strength and shape of your jawbone. Root canal procedures can prevent these problems from occurring by saving your existing teeth.
What happens during a root canal?
During a root canal treatment, your dentist will numb the tooth to keep you comfortable. A rubber dam is placed over the tooth to keep the area clean for the procedure. The nerve is removed from the tooth. Your dentist will then clean and shape the canal. The canal is then filled with material to seal the canal from any invading bacteria.
Depending on the tooth that has received a root canal, a full coverage restoration like a crown may need to be placed. This will preserve the health and strength of the root canal treated tooth. Dental crowns are made from many different materials. We will choose the proper one for you based on where the tooth is located, your preference, and the amount of natural tooth that is left.
How long do root canals last?
Root canals last for many years and even up to a lifetime. Receiving regular dental exams and practicing good daily oral hygiene will keep your teeth healthy and prevent future decay or gum disease.
If you have tooth pain or know that a tooth is infected, contact us as soon as possible. A root canal may be your best bet to preserve your tooth and oral health.