Did you know that the bacteria in a cavity can cause the nerves to die and kill the tooth? Unlike other areas of your body, the teeth can’t regenerate, so if you don’t remove the diseased parts of a tooth being destroyed by plaque and bacteria, it will continue to spread. As this decay attacks the pulp inside of your tooth housing the blood vessels, nerves and soft tissues that keep your tooth alive, the decay will eventually abscess and kill the tooth. An endodontic treatment known as a root canal can save a dead tooth by keeping out further infection.
If you have a cracked tooth, deep cavity, dental trauma or a tooth that has been damaged from multiple dental treatments, your tooth can be repaired and saved with a root canal despite the damage from inflammation or infection deep within the tooth. A root canal entails going into the tooth and getting rid of the damaged area of the tooth pulp. After cleaning and disinfecting the area, the tooth is filled and sealed so that it looks and functions as good as new. A root canal is used to save the tooth versus having to remove it if the infection is too severe.
A root canal treatment is done over several office visits, and X-rays will be taken to determine where the decay is located in your mouth. When it is time for treatment, the affected tooth will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Having a root canal is very similar to a dental filling thanks to today’s advances in techniques and technology. We will help you feel relaxed and comfortable during your appointment.
Once the tooth is numb, a small sheet of rubber – a dental dam – is used to separate the tooth to keep it clean and dry from saliva and bacteria. Using small tools, an opening will be made in the top part of the tooth to allow access to the pulp tissue inside the canals. The bacteria and the dying or dead tissue inside the tooth can then be excavated. After the diseased pulp has been removed and the inner chamber of the tooth is washed, disinfected and dried, it will be filled with a biocompatible rubber-like material known as gutta-percha. This will then be sealed with an adhesive cement or a temporary filling as you await a permanent crown at another visit.
After you have a root canal, you will want to take the best possible care of your teeth and gums. Diligent, daily oral hygiene – brushing twice a day and flossing at least once – is the key to preventing cavities and gum disease. In addition, biannual dental cleanings will remove hardened plaque (tartar) around the gum line and your teeth. Dental X-rays during your visits can help to ensure that there is no more infection in the tooth that received the root canal.
The good news is, if you take good care of your oral health, your root canal restored tooth can last a lifetime! If you would like to know more or to schedule a visit with us, please give us a call today. Our team will be happy to assist you and give you your best smile!