Endodontic treatment is more commonly known as root canal therapy. And while no one wants to undergo a root canal, this treatment can mean the difference between saving your tooth or losing it.
Whenever a patient has suffered trauma to a tooth impacting the nerve; or if infection has permeated the root of the tooth due to a fracture, dental decay, or disease … endodontic treatment is usually needed.
An x-ray usually provides the evidence to show whether a root canal is needed. Symptoms the patient may be experiencing include discomfort, swelling of the face or jaw, and/or sensitivity to temperature. Your family dentist may be able to perform the root canal, but very often the patient is referred to an endodontist to perform treatment.
The number of roots and their position are determined; the tooth is segregated to keep it dry (a rubber dam is placed); anesthetic is injected to numb the area; and the procedure can begin.
An access point is drilled into the tooth requiring treatment. Endodontic files are then employed to remove the contents of the root canals including nerve tissue, blood, and pulp. If infection is present it is removed as well. An assistant is most often on hand to suction away the contents.
Once a permanent tooth has erupted, the nerve is no longer needed for the tooth to survive. When treatment is completed, pain is no longer felt. Without this treatment, the only other option would have been tooth extraction. This is never a better choice if the tooth can be saved.
The access point for endodontic treatment must be sealed upon being assured all infection has been cured and the procedure is deemed successful. Options to seal the tooth usually depend on which tooth was treated. Front teeth may be sealed using a tooth colored composite resin.
The access point for molar teeth are sealed with a crown. The tooth is filed down, and a temporary is placed while the crown is being made at the dental lab. In about two weeks, the patient returns for seating. Very often another x-ray is taken to be assured the root is healthy once again; if so the crown is permanently cemented in place; and the tooth is saved.
Root canal therapy is a much better option than dealing with the aftermath following tooth loss. Don’t put it off! Contact our office today to schedule your appointment!