What is a Root Canal? – Endodontics
Endodontics or Root canal therapy is one of the primary procedures that we do that involve relieving pain, although pain is not the only indicator that you may need root canal therapy.
Root canal therapy is mainly needed when there is some sort of infection or pathology associated with a tooth! Usually this is caused by a cavity that has reached the nerve of the tooth and has allowed bacteria to infect a tooth. In many cases, this causes obvious pain or sensitivity in that particular tooth, sometimes if the infection becomes bad enough it can “kill” the nerve of the tooth and it will actually feel like it got better, but unfortunately the infection will only be growing stronger!
Sometimes you may have a cavity that has not quite reached the nerve just yet, but is extremely close. In some of these cases we may recommend root canal therapy because if we do a simple filling or even wait and do nothing it may cause extreme sensitivity or even pain, we’d love to avoid an emergency if we can. Each case is different and we will tailor your treatment to you and your specific needs.
The Root Canal Procedure
Although the procedure may seem frightening and unusual, it is far from it! It is a routine procedure performed at our office and there is no reason to be apprehensive, we’re trying to make you better. We start the procedure by removing any existing cavities and then we “disinfect” nerve system of the tooth. The “disinfection” part of the procedure is what we mean when we talk about getting a root canal. This involves removing any tissue and bacteria that may be present in the root system of a tooth mechanically and with irrigants. Once this is completed the root system is filled with a material called “gutta-percha”. This allows us to seal off the canals and prevent any bacteria from re-entering and causing another infection.
Caring for a Root Canal
If the root canal is completed on a molar or premolar then we always recommend a crown on those teeth. As you can imagine when we do a root canal we remove enough tooth structure that it puts the tooth at risk of breaking or fracturing, so the crown helps hold it together!
Even though we have removed the nerve it is still possible for that tooth to get a cavity. So it is of utmost importance that you take care of that tooth not only at home by brushing and flossing, but by maintaining regular visits to the dentist to make sure that the tooth is doing okay.