Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a simple, routine procedure that helps to relieve discomfort and save your smile.
When a tooth is infected on the inside, the tooth will decay and eventually fall out if it is not treated. The treatment method for infected pulp, the inside of a tooth, is root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is a highly effective treatment that can save a tooth and make it last a lifetime.
The root canal procedure is described by most patients who have undergone it as virtually painless. Under anesthesia, the dentist drills a small hole in the tooth to be treated, and then uses precision dental instruments to thoroughly clean out the pulp. All diseased and dead tissue is removed from the tooth, and then it is filled with a rubbery filler material. The entire area is sanitized to prevent reinfection, and sealed. The hole in the tooth is filled with a dental filling, and in some cases, a dental crown is placed to completely restore the outside of the tooth. This is usually done on a second appointment.
Recovery time from a root canal is quick. The restored tooth is fully functioning and free from disease. In rare cases, the tooth may become reinfected and a second procedure will be necessary, but first root canals have a success rate of at least 95%.
When comparing root canal therapy to the alternative of a lost tooth, you should consider the consequences of even one tooth being missing. With one tooth gone, the underlying support of the entire dentition (all the teeth together) is undermined. Shifting of the surrounding teeth may occur, and as time goes by, your teeth may become crooked. Even if the lost tooth is in the back of your mouth, progressive shifting could eventually make you have crooked teeth that are noticeable when you smile. A missing tooth also leaves a gap that can be difficult to clean and allow food particles to get trapped, which allows bacteria to feed on sugars and grow.
Alternatives to root canal include extraction and replacement with an implant, partial denture or dental bridge.
If you have an infected tooth that requires either root canal or extraction, you can discuss your options by giving us a call for an appointment. There is no right answer for everyone, and your decision should be based on various factors including your personal health and health history, finances and your desires.