A root canal is a routine procedure done here at Silvestri & Comfort Family Dentistry that treats a tooth that has become severely decayed or infected. Root canal therapy has advanced significantly in technology that enables the doctor to treat the tooth more effectively and efficiently. With the advances in technology, it allows the treatment to be completed comfortably and often in only one appointment.
A few reasons of how a tooth’s nerve can be damaged or infected are: deep decay, large fillings, crack in tooth or trauma to the mouth. When the nerve is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply in the pulp. The bacteria can then cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess occurs when the infection has spread all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth that can cause swelling to spread out to other areas of the face, neck or head, bone loss around the tooth and/or a pimple on the gums.
Some indications or symptoms that root canal therapy is needed may be the following: pain or throbbing while applying pressure, prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold, darkening of the tooth, and/or swelling and tenderness in nearby gums.
The first step in making the diagnosis is to have the doctor take an x-ray of the tooth to determine if there are signs of infection in the surrounding bone.
During a root canal procedure, using local anesthesia, the doctor cleans out the decay portion of the tooth and creates an access hole into the pulp chamber of the tooth, which will then allow the cleaning out process of the canals using rotary and hand held root canal files. A series of these files are instrumented in a specific and meticulous routine to clean out the debris down the full length of the canals and is periodically rinsed with sodium hypochlorite to flush away the debris.
Once the tooth is clear of debris, the canals are then dried and filled with a sealer paste and a rubber compound called gutta percha.
A final x-ray is taken for the doctor to verify the results. Once the root canal is completed, the doctor will place a temporary filling into the access hole to protect the tooth while the healing occurs.
Depending on the extent of the infection, the doctor will prescribe an antibiotic after the treatment to help with the healing of the tooth.
Approximately one month later is when the permanent restoration is ideally performed, as teeth treated with root canal therapy will need a filling or crown placed to protect it from breaking down.
Root canal treatment is a highly successful treatment. With advanced technology and the doctor’s knowledge, many teeth treated with root canal therapy could last a lifetime.