Root Canal Therapy
If you have a badly damaged or infected tooth, you may need to undergo root canal therapy. Root canal therapy can help save your tooth without having to remove it. The term “root canal” refers to the cleaning of the canals that are inside your teeth. These canals are found under the enamel, dentin, and pulp chamber that contain soft tissue known as “pulp.” The pulp contains nerves, connective tissue, blood vessels and helps fully form the root of the tooth during development.
For many years, root canals were a painful procedure. However, thanks to advancements in modern dentistry and local anesthetics, most patients today feel very little pain and discomfort. You might even find it less painful that living with a decayed tooth.
Why You May Need Root Canal TherapyThe are several reasons a root canal may be necessary. For starters, saving the natural tooth can allow for efficient chewing, natural appearance, normal sensation and bite force, etc. Also, removing a tooth can have serious consequences for your surrounding teeth and jawbone, often leading to misaligned teeth and resorbed bone.
When a tooth is fractured or contains a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp. If left untreated, the bacteria can cause serious infection or tooth abscesses. This can lead to pulp death and even the loss of the tooth. Luckily, a fully developed tooth can survive without the pulp thanks to surrounding tissues. Although, the tooth will become brittle, and a dental crown is required.
Root Canal ProcedureRoot canal therapy usually takes one or two office visits. Dr. Luisa Snyder will begin by administering a local anesthetic to reduce pain and discomfort. Then we will use a rubber-like sheet known as a dental dam, to protect the tooth from saliva and keep it clean. A small opening is made into the top of the tooth to secure access to the pulp. We will then use a small tool to remove any infected or diseased pulp.
After the pulp is removed, we will flush the canals and make sure they are clean. This may require us to reshape the canals or administer medication to clear any infection. Depending on the severity of the infection, the tooth may be left open to drain for a few days. In this case, we will give you a temporary filling to keep out debris.
Once we are sure that the canals are cleaned and dried, we will fill the pulp chamber and root canals with a rubber compound known as gutta-percha.
After the canals have been filled, the tooth will be too weak from decay and structural damage to remaining on its own. We typically place a crown within 30 days of a root canal. If you practice good oral hygiene, your restored tooth could last a lifetime.
Contact Us About Root Canal TherapyIf you have a decayed or infected tooth, it is important that you take action. Call Fairmount Dental Center today at (503) 967-0877, if you have any further questions or you would like to schedule an appointment.