Nothing helps maintain excellent dental health better than caring for your natural teeth through regular dental checkups and an effective dental hygiene regime. When issues arise with your teeth, we always look for ways to help you maintain your natural teeth. Not only do your natural teeth look better, they are also stronger. In some cases, you might experience a more severe issue with a tooth that might require a root canal. Although some patients feel this is a costly and complicated procedure, this is the best way to avoid further issues down the road. Here is an overview of how a root canal can save your natural tooth and why it is important to take that route.
When is a Root Canal Required?
A root canal, formally known as an endodontic treatment is used when a tooth has become severely infected. The infection affects the inside of your tooth which is called the pulp. The inflammation occurs when there is deep decay, but can also happen if the same tooth has undergone multiple dental procedures. Other reasons infection can occur is issues with crowns and fillings as well as damage to the tooth such as a crack or chip. In some cases, a blow to your teeth might not cause damage to the tooth itself but create pulp inflammation which can lead to infection. In many cases, an abscess develops if the infection is not caught in time, which appears as a sore on the gums above or below the tooth.
What is a Root Canal?
During the root canal, we remove the soft infected pulp at the center of the tooth. We clean and disinfect the tooth and then seal it all up using a rubber-like material to protect your tooth from further decay. Your tooth is then restored, usually with a crown, but sometimes a filling. This then allows your tooth to look and function as always.
A Pulled Tooth versus a Root Canal
We have often encountered patients in need of a root canal who as ask to simply pull the tooth to avoid the perceived pain not to mention the cost of the procedure. However, although it might avoid the cost associated with the root canal, it will lead to far more complicated and costly dental treatment down the road. Missing teeth not only look unattractive but can also lead to issues that affect your chewing. It will also eventually lead to a shifting of your remaining teeth as they begin to fall towards the gap. This means, either way, you will have to invest in some form of tooth replacement that will be costlier than the root canal.
As well, although it might seem a root canal is painful, it is far less painful than an extraction which not only hurts but also requires recovery time that can interfere with eating and your day to day life. In fact, most patients find a root canal painless as it is performed taking every precaution to keep you comfortable. It also immediately relieves you of the pain suffered by the infection. Most patients find a root canal six times less painless than an extraction.
Why Root Canals Make Good Sense
Root canals are always your best option for the following reasons:
- A root canal provides you with the most natural look that can’t be matched by any of the tooth replacement options required following an extraction including a partial denture, bridge or implant.
- No other tooth replacement option will function as well as your natural tooth.
- A root canal is less costly than the tooth replacement options following an extraction.
- A root canal is less painful than an extraction.
How is the Natural Tooth Saved?
Endodontic treatment can help you save your tooth for a lifetime in most cases. It removes decay and repairs injury so you can continue eating and smiling without pain or embarrassment. In fact, if you are suffering from pain due to infection or damage, when we recommend a root canal it is good news. This means we can save your tooth by removing the pulp and related decay with completely healthy, happy outcomes.
How is the Root Canal Performed?
At your appointment, we will numb the area to keep you comfortable during the procedure. We will use a drill to make a small hole through the dentin and enamel so we can access the infected pulp. Drilling is usually done on the biting surface of the tooth. We will remove all infected tissue and any signs of decay. The chamber is then filled to protect your tooth from further infection. The filling will be compressed for a perfect fit using heat. A temporary filling or crown will be put in place until we have the permanent crown.
We then have to shape the tooth so it can accommodate the crown that will add more protection to your natural tooth. The crown is bonded using a strong dental cement that will affix it permanently to your natural tooth.
Although the procedure is relatively painless, you might experience some discomfort directly following the procedure once the anesthetic wears off. This is easily managed with over the counter painkillers such as ibuprofen. The best part about the root canal is that you will no longer have the pain from the infection.
How can I avoid an Infection?
It all boils down to proper dental care including regular checkups. By caring for your teeth by flossing and brushing twice a day you can help prevent tooth decay. As well, at your regular dental checkups, we will be watching for signs that could lead to an infection such as old, faulty fillings and other damaged dental restorations.
As soon as you notice pain, swelling or signs of an abscess such as a sore on the gums, contact our office immediately. The sooner we can see you, the sooner we can take action to save your tooth and stop the pain.
If you would like more information on root canals or would like to book an appointment, call our team at (888) 250-8819.