This three-part article series takes an in-depth look at root canal therapy: what it is, why it’s necessary and what patients can expect from the procedure.
Welcome to the third and final installment of this three-part article series on root canal or endodontic therapy. So far, our qualified and experienced dentist in Silver Spring Maryland has addressed the following questions...
• What is root canal therapy?
• Why is it necessary?
• What can cause someone to need a root canal?
• What are the signs and symptoms of an inner tooth infection?
In this article, Silver Spring dentists will walk us through a standard root canal procedure, explaining what is involved and whether patients can anticipate any pain and discomfort!
The Root Canal Procedure: Say “Aahhhh”
Root canal therapy is generally performed in-office over the course of one or two appointments. First and foremost, the extent of the infection will be determined using X-ray. The Silver Spring dentist will then anesthetize the gum surrounding the tooth so that you don’t experience any pain or discomfort during the procedure. He or she will then place a small sheet of rubber around the tooth to prevent saliva from moistening the area.
Once the preparation work has been done, the procedure will commence with the drilling of a hole into the top of the tooth. The dentist will use a very fine tool or file to extract all the infected pulp, the decayed nerve tissue, bacteria and associated debris from the tooth chamber and down the entire length of its root/s. The insides of the tooth are thoroughly filed and scrubbed to completely eliminate bacteria and minimize the chance of re-infection. Sodium hypochlorite or even just water will be periodically flushed into the empty tooth to help remove debris and infected tissue.
Once the Silver Spring dentist is satisfied that the tooth is completely clean, he or she will fill it with an inert cement, or “gutta percha”. This rubbery compound flows into the interior of the tooth, filling the roots as well as the pulp chamber and leaving it impervious to external contaminants. The access hole at the top of the tooth crown is then capped with a durable ceramic restoration, such as a dental crown or filling. You may be required to return to the dentist for further restoration, but this will be discussed with you during your appointment.
Does Root Canal Therapy Really Hurt?
If root canal therapy were performed without the aid of anesthesia, it would most definitely hurt, because it is by its very nature an invasive procedure. But, you will be hard pressed to find a dentist in Silver Spring Maryland who would recommend performing such a treatment without anesthesia! By numbing the area around the tooth, the patient won’t need to worry about experiencing any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
So... Is My Tooth Dead or Alive?
Many people think that a root canal leaves them with a “dead” tooth. This simply isn’t the case. The nerves and tissues inside the tooth play an important role during your dentition and jawbone’s formative years. But by adulthood, the tooth can do quite well without them. It is always better to treat a natural tooth than it is to extract it and replace it with a dental bridge or implant. No amount of sophisticated teeth replacement hardware can rival your own biological technology, which is why dentists always recommend root canal therapy prior to extraction.
Avoiding the need for root canal therapy means looking after your teeth, although this is not always enough - accidents do happen! Maintain a rigorous home oral hygiene, wear a mouth guard if you play sports and keep regular scheduled appointments with your Silver Spring dentist and you should keep your teeth in excellent lifelong condition!