Root Canal Therapy: Purpose and Procedure

shutterstock_93206026A root canal is needed when the protective cover of the tooth has been breached and infection forms. This can be due to a crack in the tooth, dental decay or a broken filling. Very often there are no obvious symptoms … patients may experience sensitivity or a little discomfort. The dentist will take x-rays and perform quick diagnostic tests to make the determination whether a root canal is the optimum treatment.

A root canal involves removing the nerve and pulp from each root of the affected tooth. An x-ray will help the dentist determine how many roots are involved and the basic direction each root has grown. Different teeth can have one or several roots, and it is imperative to treat each root or the infection can evolve into an abscess.

The root canal procedure has a very negative connotation, but with today’s modern technology and instrumentation, that is an unearned reputation. The procedure itself is performed under anesthesia, although since the nerve itself is already dead, the use of numbing the area is more precautionary. The dentist uses a hand piece to access the root chamber and remove the infected nerve and surrounding tissue.

Once all affected roots have been cleaned out and the area has been flushed of all bacteria, the tooth is packed with a material that will take up the space in the root chamber to allow stability of the tooth. For more serious infections, an antibiotic may be applied or provided for oral use.

Once the root canal has been completed, the access point must be sealed to prevent further problems. Depending on the tooth involved, a composite resin tooth colored filling may be employed. But for most root canals, especially those performed on molars, a dental crown will be the best option.

A tooth that has been cracked or treated multiple times for dental decay may not be salvageable without a crown. The primary purpose of a root canal is to prevent further infection, but most importantly to save the tooth. If the infection is not treated, this could lead to an abscess, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, and ultimately lead to tooth loss.

Preserving teeth is the primary goal of your dental provider, and root canal therapy increases the chance to save an infected tooth. Contact Euro Dental Studio, serving Williamsburg and surrounding areas, at 718-417-4544 for additional information.

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