Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. Regular cleanings and check-ups can prevent and detect problems early. If a cavity forms and is allowed to go untreated for too long, it can penetrate to the root pulp where an infection can occur. If this occurs, the pulp becomes infected and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is called an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected, it must be treated and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include: sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure and a bad taste in the mouth.
At Keowee Smiles, we believe in saving teeth instead of removing them. We make every effort to help you keep your natural teeth for a lifetime! In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria and any decay are removed. The resulting space is filled with special, medicated dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.
Having a root canal performed on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but extracting (pulling) a tooth can ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
Signs and symptoms that you might need root canal treatment:
Reasons for root canal therapy:
What does root canal therapy involve?
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist.
First, we want to relieve any discomfort you might be experiencing and ensure your comfort throughout the treatment. Once we do this, an access opening is made on the biting surface of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.
If additional appointments are not needed, the roots and the inside cavity will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking and restore it to its full function.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth heals.