Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Years ago, diseased or injured teeth were usually polled. But today, a tooth can often be saved through root canal therapy. Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in treating diseases or injuries to the dental pulp.
General dentists have been trained to perform root canal therapy. In some cases, a tooth may require a patient to see a root canal specialist known as an endodontist. This can sometimes be necessary when dealing with a molar tooth or a tooth that needs re-treatment of a previously completed root canal. However, many root canal procedures can be completed at our facility.
For the root canal procedure itself, it is most often completed in two visits about one week apart. The pulp, is soft tissue inside the tooth that contains all of the blood vessels and nerves. When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed, root canal therapy is needed. This can happen in cases of a cracked or chipped tooth, a deep cavity or filling or other serious injury to the tooth. Any of these situations can allow bacteria to cause infection or inflammation. In turn, this inflammation is likely to cause pain and swelling. If a tooth is extracted instead of being treated with root canal therapy and is not replaced, the teeth around it may begin to shift. Additionally, malocclusion will make it harder to bite, chew and to properly clean your teeth.
People often wonder what the steps are of root canal therapy.
Firstly, the dentist will make the area numb using a local anesthetic for your comfort. A thin, non-latex material called a rubber dam will be placed over your tooth to keep everything dry. An opening is made through the top of the tooth so the dentist can have access to the pulp chamber. Using a variety of files, your tooth nerve (or pulp) is removed. Sometimes, the dentist will place medicine inside the pump chamber to help treat any present infection. Then, the canals of the tooth are filled with a rubber-like material called gutta percha to seal them. A temporary filling is placed on the tooth and then once the dentist is sure that the root canal is successful, they will remove the temporary filling and restore the tooth with either a permanent crown or filling.