When a tooth becomes infected or damaged, the only way to save it may be a root canal. Although many people do not like hearing those words, this procedure can enable you to keep your natural tooth. This is always a better option than getting an artificial one – and cheaper, too. Root canal services can help you keep your smile.
When your dentist tells you it is time for a root canal, it will likely be a cause of fear for many people. The truth is that it will bring relief because most likely you are in pain now because of the infection in the tooth. A root canal treatment will relieve the pain because it kills the nerve in the tooth and removes the infection that causes it.
You may also have fear of a root canal because of some of the stories you may have heard about root canals. Unfortunately, they just are not true. Anesthesia ensures that there is no pain during the procedure.
There are several symptoms that indicate that you are a likely candidate for a root canal. They include:
One of the biggest reasons for a root canal is infection. Although the degree of infection and pain will vary, it can become a very serious matter. Infections in a tooth will spread to the gums sooner or later. It will be very painful and you will want something done about it as soon as possible!
The danger is that the infection can spread into the gums and then into the jawbone. It can also spread to your sinuses and to your brain. It will then become fatal. This problem is called an abscess tooth. The symptoms will include:
When a tooth becomes infected like this, the dentist has no choice but to either extract it or perform a root canal. While it will be your choice in the end, it is always less expensive to get a root canal than it would be to have an extraction and replace the tooth. Tooth replacement options include a dental implant, a dental bridge, or a partial denture.
When a root canal procedure begins, the dentist will first drain any pus sacks from the inflamed gums. This alone will help to relieve some of the pressure that is causing the pain.
The periodontist will then drill a hole in the top of the tooth. This will provide access to the infected pulp in the tooth. Using fine dental files, the dentist will insert them into the pulp and remove the inflammation and the nerve. This will destroy any feeling you have in the tooth. An adult tooth can survive without the nerve.
After a careful cleaning out of the root canal, the inside of the tooth will be sterilized. It will then be sealed by placing a rubber-like product in it called gutta-percha. When that is completed, the dentist will either put a filling in the top of the tooth, or prepare it for a dental crown if the decay is too large for a filling.
Some dentists will wait a week or two before placing the final filling or crown on the tooth. This is a “just in case” situation, enabling the dentist to make sure that a reinfection does not occur. Once assured it is safe to complete the process, it will be finished.
As you may have heard, it is sometimes true that the pain after a root canal will return. It is not the same nerve that is causing the pain because that nerve is gone. The pain you feel is because the infection is at the base of the same tooth in the gums where more nerves are located.
A reinfection can occur because of two possible reasons. The first one is because of a failure to completely clean out the root canal in the first place. This can occur because it was not done right, or it is possible that calcium deposits in the tooth may have prevented a complete removal of the bacteria and inflammation. A tooth often has many channels inside of it where bacteria can hide.
In order to determine if re-infection of the tooth is the cause, the dentist will conduct a scan of the tooth with an x-ray or with cone beam-computed tomography (CBCT) scans. A CBCT scan will enable the dentist to view the tooth three-dimensionally. This will let the dentist see the problem and determine if an apicoectomy is needed.
This procedure involves surgery to uncover the roots of the involved tooth. The gums will be pulled back or cut and some of the jawbone will be removed to be able to view to root tips.
Some of the root tip will also be removed, usually only a few millimeters. Then, any bacteria and inflamed tissue will be removed from the tooth root. Once that is completed, a filling will be inserted into the root tip to seal it and prevent any further reinfection.
During the procedure, the dentists performing it will often use high-tech equipment to ensure that the job is thorough. They may wear microscopes on their eyes, fiber-optic lights, and will ensure it is clean with ultrasonic instruments.
Once the surgery is complete, the dentist will stitch the gums in place to help them heal correctly. Bone graft material may also be inserted in the hole that was cut to enable the tooth roots to be accessed. If used, it will take about six months for the bone to regrow and the space to be healed.
Another situation where an apicoectomy may be used is when a root canal has already been conducted and there is a crown on the tooth and possibly a post in it. Instead of taking the tooth apart, which would require removing more of the tooth material and weakening it, an apicoectomy may be used to save the tooth.
The apicoectomy will enable the tooth to be used in a normal way after the gums heal. This second treatment should ensure that your tooth is good for many years to come.
When you need a root canal or suspect that you have an infection in your tooth, you can get root canal services at Champion Dental. Our friendly dentists can help you understand the procedure and get your tooth restored. You can set up a consultation or get more information by contacting our office today.