Deep within your tooth is an area of soft tissue, called the pulp, which contains the tooth’s nerves and blood supply. This tissue travels through canals which run down through the roots of each tooth. There is generally one canal on front teeth, and up to four on molars or back teeth. These canals are the life support system for the tooth.
However, if a tooth has become traumatized through fracture, deep decay or simply from undue trauma upon the tooth, the pulp tissue can become irreversibly irritated. Eventually the tissue inside the tooth will die and then can become infected. Once this happens, the tooth cannot heal itself and will require a root canal treatment. The sooner a patient seeks endodontic treatment, the better the long term result may be.
What Is a Root Canal Procedure?
A root canal removes the damaged tissue or dead pulp in the root of the tooth by cleaning out the diseased pulp and reshaping the canal. The canal is then filled and carefully sealed with gutta percha, a rubberlike material, to prevent re-contamination of the tooth. Since tooth structure has been removed to access the root canals the tooth will be predisposed to fracturing, therefore it is recommended to protect the tooth with a porcelain crown following the root canal procedure.
Dr. Miller has been delivering expert, comfortable endodontic treatment for many years. You will discover how comfortable the procedure is with modern anesthesia and dental technology.
Why do I feel pain?
When the pulp tissue becomes infected or dies due to a deep cavity or fracture that allows bacteria to seep in, or injury due to trauma, it will cause discomfort and pain. Damaged or dead pulp causes increased blood flow and cellular activity, and pressure builds up inside the tooth causing pain. Some things will make a tooth in this condition hurt worse, especially hot foods or liquids or chewing pressure.
Why do I need root canal therapy?
The tooth will not heal by itself. Without treatment, the infection will spread to the surrounding bone causing additional problems. Pain usually worsens until one is forced to seek emergency dental attention. The only alternative is extraction of the tooth, which can cause surrounding teeth to shift, resulting in a bad bite. Though an extraction is cheaper, the space left behind will require a dental implant or a bridge, which can be more expensive than root canal therapy. If you have the choice, it’s always best to keep your original teeth.
What are the risks and complications?
More than 95 percent of root canal treatments are successful. However, sometimes a case needs to be redone and the prognosis for re-treatment is very poor. When this occurs, the recommendation is removal of the tooth and replacement with an implant or restore the space with a bridge.
What happens after treatment?
If a large amount of infection is present, or you have diabetes or any immune system suppression disease, antibiotics will be prescribed. Almost all teeth will need to be restored with a crown soon after completely the root canal treatment. From this point on, brush and floss regularly, avoid chewing hard foods on the treated tooth until it is comfortable.
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If you would like to learn more about our services at our office or to make an appointment with us, call 503.640.9310