The two words most dreaded when sitting in the dental chair are “root canal.” A dental procedure that has earned a bad rap, the root canal is very beneficial in saving a tooth from being lost. Its reputation is more fable than reality in that this procedure is easy, pain free, and will result in keeping a permanent tooth that otherwise could be lost to infection or decay.
A root canal, also known as endodontic therapy, is a procedure where the dentist will create an opening in the exterior of the tooth. Once opened up, the dentist will use dental hand pieces and files to remove the contents of the canal of the roots of the tooth.
The contents being removed are made up of nerve, pulp, and blood tissues … once the tooth has successfully erupted, these contents no longer serve a useful purpose so their removal does not impact the health of the tooth.
However, failure to remove these tissues can result in infection if the tooth has been breached by dental decay, a fracture, or other trauma to the tooth. If infection does occur, if not treated an abscess can occur. This abscess can allow infection to spread to other parts of the body as well.
When it has been determined that a root canal is needed, an x-ray will be performed so the number of canals involved, as well as their direction, are identified so the dentist will be sure all canals are treated. This is an imperative step because if any canals are missed, retreatment will be needed.
Once the contents of the canals have been removed, there are different options that may be followed to complete the procedure. If no infection is present, the dentist may elect to seal the tooth immediately. However, if infection is present, treatment with antibiotics and packing the tooth with a rubbery substance called gutta percha will provide stability for the tooth while waiting to be sealed.
Depending on the tooth treated, the tooth may be sealed with composite resin. Often treatment will be completed with a dental crown.
The “dreaded” root canal has now saved a valuable commodity … your tooth. You are free to eat as you please without any concerns, and you have avoided very costly and time consuming treatment that would have been necessary had this tooth been lost.
Determine the best option for your dental situation by calling 972-264-5795 and scheduling an appointment with any of our skilled dentists.