Most dentists, not to mention those who have previously undergone the procedure, will agree that root canal therapy is the best way to save a tooth that is severely damaged or decayed. Also known as endodontic treatment, root canal therapy is a dental procedure that involves removing the tooth’s pulp, the soft area of the tooth consisting of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue, as a way to save the tooth.
WHY IS THE TOOTH’S PULP REMOVED?
More often than not, when a tooth is severely damaged, decayed, or infected, the pulp of the tooth also becomes damaged or inflamed, which can result in an abscess, a pus-filled tooth that causes severe pain. In most cases, an abscess is a byproduct of bacteria entering the pulp chamber of the tooth. Damage to the pulp can also stem from any of the following:
- Repeatedly performing dental procedures on the same tooth
- Unusually large fillings or cracks in the tooth
- Dental trauma
All in all, removing the tooth’s pulp minimizes the risk of further damage to the tooth. And yes, the tooth can survive without the pulp provided that the endodontic procedure was performed correctly.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF AN ENDODONTIC PROCEDURE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
In addition to severe cavities, cracks, or chips in the tooth, additional tell-tale signs that you might benefit from an endodontic procedure would be if you’re experiencing any of the following:
- Extreme pain when biting down on food
- Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages
- Tooth discoloration
- Swollen or irritated gums
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT AN ENDODONTIC PROCEDURE
The first thing to note when it comes to an endodontic procedure is that they are not as painful as most people think. In fact, the discomfort felt is similar to that of having a cavity filled. That aside, the first part of an endodontic procedure will entail taking an X-ray of the tooth to ensure that endodontic treatment is needed. From there the dentist or endodontist will numb the gum tissue around the tooth using a local anesthetic, typically novocaine.
Next, the dental practitioner will drill an entry hole into the tooth to access the pulp. And using specialized dental instruments, they will remove the pulp and also clean the interior of the tooth before resealing it. All in all, an endodontic procedure usually takes between 60 to 90 minutes to complete. The one drawback of an endodontic procedure, however, is that the tooth will become more susceptible to fractures.
To improve the structural integrity of the tooth, not to mention its overall appearance, most practitioners will advise patients to schedule a follow-up visit to have a crown placed over the tooth. And in most cases, they will recommend porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, which closely match the color of a patient’s natural teeth.
To learn more about endodontic procedures or to schedule a consultation, consider contacting North View Dental today, a well-regarded and state-of-the-art dental group in Pleasant View that specializes in root canal procedures.