Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is treatment used to repair and save a tooth that has an infected nerve. This can be due to a large area of decay in the tooth or trauma to the tooth, previous or current. The treatment involves removing the pulp and the nerves of the tooth, and any active infection. If the treatment is not performed, pus builds up at the root tip and the infection of the pulp can spread to the surrounding bone. The results in severe pain and swelling of the area. Antibotics can cure the infection but if the the problem is not taken care of it will continue to reoccur.
What are the signs that a root canal is needed?
- Severe tooth pain while chewing
- Tooth pain wakes you up at night
- Teeth that are highly sensitive to hot or cold, with the sensitivity lingering for some time.
- Discoloration or darkening of the tooth
- Swollen gums in the area of the infected tooth
What does the treatment involve?
First, an opening is made into the pulp chamber through the crown of the tooth.. Once the pulp is removed, the canals that hold the nerves are thoroughly cleaned with small files. Most root canals require multiple visits, a temporary filling will be placed to protect the tooth inbetween visits. When you return, the dentist will remove the temporary filling, re-clean the root canal and pulp chamber, and place a permanent filling material in the canals. The tooth will then be prepared for a crown and you will leave with a temporary crown that day. A follow-up visit will be required to seat the permanent crown about two weeks later.
Root canal therapy has a high rate of success and a tooth undergoing the procedure can be saved to last a lifetime. Additionally, the crown placed at the completion of the procedure returns the tooth to proper function and provides a cosmetically pleasing appearance.