Root canal therapy is the removal of an infection in the middle of a tooth. The treatment itself is not painful, but it is essential and can save a tooth that may have to be removed completely if left untreated. Teeth are made up of two parts. The bits you see is the crown, and the root extends down into your jaw, keeping your teeth in place. In the center of your tooth is dental pulp and this can sometimes get infected due to a leaky filling or cracked tooth. When this happens, a root canal is needed to treat the infection. Here at Paso Robles Dental Care in Paso Robles, California, we understand the importance of a healthy smile, and can help you with an array of tooth and gum problems, including root canal therapy.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
You may have noticed pain when biting or chewing, or even a slightly loose tooth, and this may mean you need root canal therapy. Your dentist will confirm this through a series of X-rays and can then begin the procedure. Root canal is often performed under a local anesthetic to numb the infected tooth and the gum around it. Sometimes, if the tooth is completely dead and you have no sensation, root canals can be performed without anesthetic.
Your dentist will open your tooth from the crown to access the dental pulp and drain away the infection. If you also have an abscess, your dentist will be able to drain this too. Your tooth is then cleaned thoroughly, and your dentist will then enlarge the root canal ready for filling. This process can take hours, and you may have to return another day for the remainder of the procedure. If this is the case, your dentist will put a small amount of medicine into the empty root canal to kill off any bacteria, and then place a temporary filling to protect the tooth.
Teeth that have had root canals and then filled in are weaker than regular teeth, so your dentist should recommend adding a crown to your tooth. This will help strengthen it so you can continue using your tooth for chewing and talking.
Root canal therapy is usually very successful at removing the infection and saving the tooth from having to be removed. Root canals are often carried out to save the tooth, as dentists recommend you have as many of your natural teeth as possible. The survival of your tooth depends on a few deciding factors such as:
- How much of the natural tooth remains
- How well you keep your teeth clean
- The amount of pressure you use when biting with that particular tooth
If a root canal is unsuccessful, it can be repeated. Alternatively, your dentist may recommend a small operation to remove the root tip (an apicoectomy) to treat the infection.
Call Paso Robles Dental Care in Paso Robles, California today if you’re experiencing symptoms of a tooth infection. We’re always happy to help.