With root canal therapy, or endodontic treatment, we have the ability to preserve a natural tooth even when the inner nerve has been damaged or infected. An unhealthy dental nerve can produce symptoms such as throbbing, temperature sensitivity, or aching pain – and the discomfort is typically only relieved when the nerve has been removed. At this stage, dental fillings and antibiotics are incapable of providing adequate or long-term relief.
Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of an Endodontic Problem
When infection or inflammation have impacted the dental nerve within the tooth, endodontic treatment is typically necessary. Inflammation and/or infection are generally related to deep tooth decay, forceful trauma to the tooth, or a crack in the tooth. Even without visible fractures or cracks, a tooth that has suffered a traumatic injury may eventually require root canal therapy due to the irreversible inflammation of the nerve tissue. Without treatment, an unhealthy dental nerve may become increasingly painful or trigger an abscess.
The Science of Root Canal Therapy
After numbing the affected tooth with local anesthetics, the dentist can remove the inflamed or infected nerve tissue through a small opening in the top of back side of the tooth’s crown. The inner surfaces of the tooth are then carefully cleaned, shaped, and sterilized before being filled and sealed with specialized restorative materials.
This procedure effectively eliminates the unhealthy nerve tissue while preserving the outer structure of the natural tooth. It is important to remember that, without the dental nerve to provide nutrients, the tooth is likely to become brittle or more fragile over time. To reinforce the tooth after a root canal procedure, it is often recommended that a crown be placed following the procedure.
With the crown in place, the tooth can continue to function like a natural tooth.
Can All Teeth Benefit from Root Canal Therapy?
While we’ll make every possible effort to save your tooth with root canal therapy, there are some circumstances in which the tooth cannot be restored. This includes inaccessible root canals, a severely fractured root, or a tooth with inadequate bone support. In these instances, as the only alternative to root canal therapy, it may be necessary to extract the tooth and explore your options for tooth replacement.
Simple in-office testing can be performed to determine if root canal therapy is right for you. To schedule your appointment, contact our office today.