Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order 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.
Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) 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, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
Root canal therapy is a vital dental procedure to treat infection or damage within a tooth’s pulp. When the inner parts of a tooth are compromised, it can lead to intense pain and further oral health issues. At Sisko Dentistry in Tallmadge, OH, we prioritize your oral health and comfort, ensuring that root canal therapy is both effective and as painless as possible.
Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold.
- Severe toothache pain.
- Sometimes no symptoms are present.
- Swelling and/or tenderness.
Reasons for root canal therapy:
- 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.
- Injury or trauma to the tooth.
Signs You Might Need Root Canal Therapy
- Persistent tooth pain, especially when chewing or applying pressure.
- Sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers after the stimulus is removed.
- Darkening or discoloration of the tooth.
- Swelling and tenderness in nearby gums.
- Pimple-like abscesses on the gums.
Reasons Behind the Need
When the tooth’s pulp becomes infected or injured, it can’t repair itself, leading to degeneration. If left untreated, this can result in an abscess or spread the infection, causing more extensive damage. Root canal therapy not only alleviates pain but also saves the tooth, preventing the need for extraction.
Bacteria that manage to infiltrate the pulp often cause infections. This can result from deep cavities, repeated dental procedures on a particular tooth, or even a cracked tooth. In these scenarios, root canal therapy serves as the last line of defense against tooth loss.
Ultimately, the goal is to maintain your natural teeth for as long as possible. Teeth treated with root canal therapy can function like any other tooth, allowing for normal biting, chewing, and maintaining a natural appearance.
- Diagnosis: Using X-rays, our doctor will evaluate the extent of the infection.
- Anesthesia: To ensure comfort, the affected tooth is numbed.
- Pulpectomy: An opening is created to remove the infected pulp.
- Cleaning and Sealing: After removing the pulp, the inner chamber is cleaned, shaped, and sealed to prevent further infection.
- Restoration: Often, a tooth that needs root canal therapy will require a crown to restore its shape and function.
What does root canal therapy involve?
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).
While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. 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.
At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling 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 (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.
Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.
Preventing the Need for Root Canal Therapy
Regular dental check-ups are crucial to catch potential issues early. You can avoid more invasive treatments by identifying cavities or damage in their initial stages.
Maintaining daily oral hygiene routines like brushing and flossing effectively removes bacteria that could infiltrate the tooth pulp. Additionally, limiting sugary foods and drinks can help prevent cavities, a leading cause of pulp infections.
Protecting your teeth from trauma, like wearing mouthguards during physical activities, can also mitigate risks. Regularly updating fillings and crowns when they wear out can further reduce the chances of requiring this therapy.
Avoiding frequent dental procedures on the same tooth, by ensuring the best quality of care the first time around, can prevent repeated stresses that necessitate root canal therapy.
After undergoing root canal therapy, the treated tooth should function like any other. It’s essential, however, to maintain good oral hygiene practices to ensure the longevity of the treated tooth and overall dental health. With the proper care, a tooth treated with root canal therapy can last a lifetime.
Regular dental check-ups following the treatment will ensure that everything remains in order and potential issues are addressed promptly. If you experience any unexpected discomfort after the procedure, it’s crucial to consult our doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is root canal therapy?
Root canal therapy is a dental procedure that treats infection or damage within a tooth’s pulp. This can save the tooth and prevent the need for extraction.
How can I tell if I might need a root canal?
Some symptoms suggesting the need for a root canal include persistent tooth pain, prolonged sensitivity to temperature, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling or tenderness in the gums.
How long does a tooth treated with root canal therapy last?
With proper oral hygiene and care, a tooth treated with root canal therapy can last a lifetime. It’s essential to continue with regular dental check-ups to ensure its longevity.
We’re Here for Your Dental Needs
Facing the prospect of a root canal can be daunting, but at Sisko Dentistry, we’re dedicated to offering a comfortable and informed experience. If you’re experiencing any symptoms or have concerns about your oral health, don’t hesitate to contact us. Your well-being is our priority. Call us today at (330) 633-9510 to discuss your needs and schedule a consultation.