The treatment to repair and save a badly infected tooth is known as root canal therapy. An infected tooth is a hazard both to itself and your overall health. It needs to be treated before it can become further damaged or cause further impairment.
During the procedure, the pulp and the nerve are removed so that the interior of the tooth can be cleaned and disinfected. After we complete the therapy, we will seal and strengthen your tooth with a crown.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
The center of each tooth has a small nerve and blood supply which is called the pulp. The pulp is enclosed in the hard tissue of the tooth and the tooth in surrounded by dense bone. When there is injury or infection in the pulp the only way to cure it is to remove it by root canal therapy. If a root canal is not performed, the infection collects at the base of the root and the tooth is now abscessed. If this abscess is left untreated, the infection can spread causing extensive swelling spreading to the head or neck.
When do you Need Root Canal Treatment?
If you’ve been experiencing some or more of these symptoms regularly, you are likely to need root canal therapy:
- Intense toothache and trouble applying pressure or chewing. The tooth pain may take the form of consistent throbbing or sudden shooting pain.
- Prolonged or severe sensitivity to hot and/or cold temperatures, with sensitivity persisting after the hot or cold agent has been removed.
- Increased pain in the dental area when you lie down, but a diminished ache when you sit up.
- Tooth pain that spreads to the ears or the head.
- Swollen gums and/or teeth.
- Tooth discoloration.
How is the Procedure Conducted?
- The procedure is intended to correct a badly inflamed or infected dental root, and so we begin by applying local anesthetic to numb the tooth and keep you comfortable.
- After your mouth is numb, we create an opening into the crown of the tooth to reach into the damaged pulp chamber.
- Using a surgical instrument called an endodontic file, the infection and damaged pulp is cleaned and filtered out of the root canal.
- The canal is then reshaped to accommodate the filling material or “gutta-percha”, which does not react against the human body and keeps away contamination and infection.
- Next, the opening of the tooth is sealed by adding a temporary filling atop the gutta-percha. The filling protects the tooth until a crown or a permanent filling can be fitted.
- Sometimes, a post may be placed inside the root for added support, before the permanent crown is refitted into place.
After the Procedure
- The root canal procedure will eventually get rid of the pain you’ve been experiencing.
- The tooth may remain sensitive and uncomfortable for the first few days after the procedure, but you can take anti-inflammatories to alleviate the discomfort.
At All About Smiles, Dr. Garretson performs root canal therapies under high magnification with ease and efficiency.
It is important to remember that root canal therapy is incomplete without sealing and strengthening the tooth with a crown.