When the nerve of a tooth is impacted due to trauma, disease, or decay, the options to consider are root canal therapy or extraction. Your dentist will explain that any time you can save the tooth, this is usually a better solution than extracting the tooth.
Symptoms that point to needing a root canal include pain when biting down; sensitivity to hot or cold; swelling; or a pimple like sore on gum tissue may be present … your dentist has a couple of tests such as tapping on the suspect tooth or shooting cold air at the tooth to see if discomfort or sensitivity are present. A dental x-ray is taken as well.
Once the need for a root canal is established, endodontic treatment (root canal) can begin. The x-ray that was taken will assist in determining the position and number of roots involved that require treatment.
Anesthetic will numb the tooth and a rubber dam will help keep the tooth dry during treatment. An access point is drilled into the tooth to allow the dentist to reach the root canals. Endodontic files will be used to extract contents of each of the canals. If infection is apparent, an antibiotic may be recommended.
Once canals have been flushed and all contents removed, a material (gutta percha) can be packed into canals and root canal therapy is completed. The next step required is to seal the access point.
A dental crown is often recommended to seal the tooth. Your dentist may recommend waiting for a week or two to be certain all infection was successfully treated. A crown prep involves shaving down the top of the tooth leaving enough of a base to cement the crown in place; a dental impression will allow the dental lab to fabricate the crown. A temporary will protect the tooth until the crown is ready.
On seat day, the crown is tried in for fit, appearance, and function; when correct it will be cemented in place.
You have saved your tooth thanks to root canal therapy. If you had extracted the tooth, you would be looking at considerable time and expense to replace it with some type of dental prosthesis. The crown will last for many years with daily brushing and flossing coupled with six months visits for cleaning and exam with your dentist.
For more answers about root canal treatment, contact us at Newton Dental Group!