The dreaded root canal therapy.
Most people dread hearing the news that they need a root canal. While root canal therapy is a common dental procedure to eliminate infections and possibly save an irreversibly damaged tooth, it continues to place a negative image in patients’ minds. Despite its negative reputation, patients can rest easy knowing our dentist in Kent offers the most comfortable, efficient experience possible when root canal therapy is needed.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is a procedure where a dentist removes bacteria infected nerves and blood vessels from the inner part of the tooth and filling it in with filling material. This procedure is sometimes necessary to save a tooth that has experienced trauma. That bacteria forms inside of the tooth for many reasons. Poor dental health is one of the most common causes. Also, when someone does not fix a cracked tooth, it is easier for bad bacteria to enter and attack the tooth from the inside out. An untreated infection inside of a tooth makes it painful, discolored and could eventually lead to the loss of that tooth.
When does a tooth need a root canal?
The inner part of the tooth, called the pulp, is made up of living tissues, nerves and blood vessels. If a tooth experiences a trauma, the living tissues can become infected and start to die. Once this process begins, the tooth needs to be treated with either a root canal or it will need to be removed. Leaving an infected tooth in the mouth without addressing it can lead to pain, severe infection and is harmful to the overall health of the body.
Examples of trauma that can lead to a tooth needing a root canal:
- A deep cavity or filling that reaches close to or into the pulp of the tooth.
- Physical trauma to the tooth. Even if the injury does not cause the tooth to break, a hard blow to a tooth may cause it to abscess and die.
- A broken or cracked tooth.
- Repeated dental treatment on a tooth.
Signs you might need a root canal:
- A “gum boil” or a pimple formed on the gum above a tooth. This is a sign of infection draining from the abscessed tooth.
- Darkening of a tooth after an injury.
- Severe tooth pain. If the infection is draining (gumboil) it is possible not to have pain.
- Pain when chewing or when having hot foods or drinks.
- Swelling of the face.
What does a root canal treatment involve?
- Exam and radiographs (x-rays) by the dentist to determine the problem and if root canal treatment is needed.
- Local anesthetic. This numbs the area, ensuring the procedure will be very comfortable.
- Removing the infected pulp, blood vessels, and nerves and cleaning out in the infection.
- A dental material called gutta-percha is used to seal up the root canals and filling material is used to fill the tooth.
This is all done in one or more appointments and is usually done in-office by the dentist. For more complicated cases, such as curved roots of teeth, a referral to a root canal specialist may be necessary. A root canal specialist is called an Endodontist, they are dentists with additional education and training.Dental infections can be serious if left untreated. If you think you might need a root canal, contact the dentist in Kent Seablue Dental immediately to schedule your appointment.