Here at Classic Smiles we can provide root canal treatments to save a badly decaying tooth or dental area. During the root canal, the nerve and pulp are withdrawn, and the interior of the tooth is cleaned and closed. Root canals are performed to prevent the tissue surrounding the tooth from getting infected and abscesses from forming.
When Do I Need Root Canal Treatment?
Inside your tooth, underneath the layer of white enamel and the hard layer of dentin is pulp, a soft tissue. This pulp contains connective tissues, nerves, blood vessels and helps the root of your tooth grow. A fully-grown adult tooth can sustain and thrive without the pulp because the tooth will continue to be nourished by the surrounding tooth.
When the nerve or pulp in the tooth becomes damaged, the bacteria start to multiply within the tooth's chamber. These bacteria can cause an infected abscessed tooth. An abscess is a collection of pus that forms at the end of the roots of the mouth and is caused when the infection spreads past the root ends.
Other symptoms of an infection in the root canal are extreme pain during chewing or biting, pimples on the gums, lingering sensitivity to hot and cold and swollen or darkening of gums. It's not just tooth decay that can cause bacteria to invade the tooth, leaky fillings and traumatic damage to the teeth like a fall can also require a root canal.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
A root canal often requires multiple visits to our office. The first step of the procedure is to x-ray the infected dental area to determine the level of infection. You will often then receive numbing anesthesia to limit the pain, and it's not often necessary as the nerve is dead. Our dentist will then place a rubber dam around the tooth to keep the area dry and avoid saliva wetting it.
A hole will then be drilled into the tooth for access. The pulp, the bacteria, the affected nerve tissue, and any related debris are removed. This process is done using a series of files that are placed into the access hole and worked down, scraping and scrubbing the sides of the root canal. Water or sodium hypochlorite will be used to flush away any debris. Although root canal procedures are thought to be incredibly painful, many people claim it's as uncomfortable as getting a filling.
After the tooth has been cleaned it will be sealed. Our dentists may wait a week before sealing the tooth and place a temporary filling to keep out contaminants like food and saliva between appointments. Other times, our dentists will seal the tooth on the same it is cleaned out.
The tooth is filled and sealed with paste and a rubber compound (gutta percha). The last step may also involve further restorations of the tooth. A tooth that requires a root canal often also needs a crown or similar restoration placed to protect it, prevent it from baking and restoring it to its best. For more information about root canals, call the experienced professionals here at Classic Smiles at (407) 378-0139 today!