The prospect of a root canal is upsetting to many people. Although it is an important procedure in dentistry, it has gained a bad reputation. In truth, without the root canal, the tooth might otherwise have to be removed.
When Is a Root Canal Necessary?
Root canals are most commonly used to restore teeth that have suffered severe injury, extensive decay or pervasive infection. Often these teeth cause extreme discomfort, which is also eliminated by the root canal procedure.
Some issues that can lead to root canal therapy include:
- A tooth with a crown that has become inflamed or infected
- Decay severe enough that most of the tooth must be removed
- Severely cracked or broken teeth that cannot be restored with a crown alone
The root canal removes the infected tissue as well as the nerve serving the tooth. In this way, the infected and damaged areas are completely cleared, and the tooth no longer experiences sensation. Using a crown to maintain the original shape of the tooth, your dentist can also preserve your bite and the relationship between the tooth being treated and teeth adjacent to it.
What Can I Expect From the Procedure?
Although root canals have a bad reputation, in many ways they are not very different from a crown, a filling, or other restoration procedures. The dentist uses local anesthetic and might use nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or another form of sedation if you prefer. With special tools, the tooth pulp and nerve are removed. The interior of the tooth is thoroughly disinfected, and the removed tissue is replaced with a special gel. After the root canal procedure is completed, the tooth is often fitted with a temporary crown to protect it. Within a few days, your dentist will be able to replace the temporary crown with a custom made permanent crown.
If you have any questions or concerns about the root canal procedure, or believe you might need to have a root canal, please contact Clement Family Dentistry to make an appointment.