Root canal treatment easily has one of the worst reputations of all dental procedures. Fortunately, modern root canal procedures are far less painful than they are perceived to be, and in most cases, patients quickly realize that as far as dental treatments go, a root canal is nothing to be frightened of.
In order to understand root canal treatment, you first need to understand the physiology of the teeth. Contrary to what many people believe, many teeth do not only have one root. The larger teeth (premolars and molars) can potentially have up to four roots each. These roots extend from the jaw right into the very center of the tooth, called the pulp. The purpose of tooth roots is to deliver blood, nutrients, and nerves to the teeth to keep them alive. If the root becomes compromised, necrosis of the tooth is virtually guaranteed. This could leave you with a gap in your smile. Although it is possible to replace missing teeth with prosthetic alternatives, it is far better to save your natural tooth wherever possible. This is achievable thanks to root canal treatment.
What is Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment sometimes referred to as root canal therapy is the name of the dental procedure in which the root canals are cleared of bacteria and infected tissue in order to try and save the affected tooth. If you have an infection in the root canal, this treatment is the only viable option for saving the tooth and without it, the tooth will die and either falls out or require extraction.
Root canal treatment takes place over two appointments. The majority of the work is completed during the first appointment.
Your First Root Canal Appointment
You will be given a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and mouth. Once this has taken effect, your dentist will drill down into the tooth to access the root canals. Small tools can then be used to clear away infected material from the infected tooth roots (of which there may be more than one). An antimicrobial solution will be placed into the pulp to destroy any remaining bacteria. Once satisfied that all traces of bacteria have been removed, your tooth roots will be filled with a rubber-type material and a temporary filling placed over the top. This is to prevent further food debris and bacteria from entering the tooth and causing re-infection. Impressions of your tooth will be taken to create your custom-designed crown, which will be fitted at your second appointment.
Your Second Root Canal Appointment
Around a week later you will return to your dentist who will check that the infection hasn’t recurred, and your tooth roots are healthy. If this is the case, your custom crown can be placed, completing the treatment. If traces of infection are identified, it may be necessary to repeat the first stage of the treatment again.
Signs That you Need Root Canal Treatment
Symptoms of a root canal infection typically include:
Severe toothache, particularly when chewing
Prolonged sensitivity to hot/cold temperatures, such as when drinking coffee or eating ice-cream
Discoloration (darkening) of the tooth
Swelling and tenderness in the gum around the tooth
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is advisable to get your tooth checked by your dentist as soon as you can.
For more advice and information about root canal treatment, or to schedule an appointment, please contact McPherson Dental Care, L.L.C in Mcpherson, KS today.