Dental Health and Root Canals
In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve you would probably lose that tooth. These days with a special dental procedure called root canal treatment, your tooth can be saved. Root canals are a relatively simple procedure involving one to three office visits. Best of all, having a root canal when necessary can save your tooth and your smile!
A root canal today is not like a root canal in the past!
Back in the early days of root canals it was often difficult for the dentist to achieve total anaesthesia, which often led to the perception that root canals were painful procedures. These days, with modern anaesthetics and techniques, any root canal therapy you may need will be totally pain-free! The feeling of the process is often compared to a simple filling.
What is the purpose of a root canal?
A tooth’s nerve is not vitally important to a tooth’s function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its biggest function is one of sensation – to provide the feeling of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones but it is detrimental to your overall health. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
What are the signs that a root canal is needed?
Teeth that require root canal therapy are not always painful. However, signs you may need a root canal include severe toothache, pain upon chewing or application of pressure, prolonged sensitivity or pain in response to hot and cold temperatures, a dark discoloration of the tooth, or swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, please give us a call.
What happens during a root canal?
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems with the nerves of the teeth) removes the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth had extensive decay, Dr Mass may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breakage. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and check ups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.