Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime, but damage from a severe cavity or an injury may cause one of your teeth to crack, leaving the inside – the pulp – open for infection. This can lead to damage of the bone surrounding the tooth, resulting in pain and swelling, and if left untreated, a serious infection or abscess could result. The pulp may die, you may lose bone or lose the tooth, itself. Signs that you may need root canal therapy include severe tooth pain, swollen gums, swelling of your face and neck and temperature sensitivity.
Root canal therapy, also called endodontic treatment, is designed to save a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of removing it. It involves opening the diseased tooth, removing the infected pulp, cleaning the canals inside the root, and filling and sealing the tooth.
Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with root canal therapy. Years ago, root canals were often painful. But with today’s advances in dentistry, there is little, if any, pain involved with a root canal. There are mild sedatives available which you can take just prior to your visits which can make the experience more pleasant if you are fearful.
Root canal therapy usually takes two or three visits. On the first visit, X-rays are taken to determine the extent of the damage. If the infection is severe, your dentist may also prescribe an antibiotic. At the next visit, an opening is made through the tooth to gain access to the pulp chamber. Using tiny dental instruments, the diseased pulp is removed and the chamber and root canals are cleaned and flushed. A temporary filling is placed to protect the tooth.
When it’s time to fill the root canals, the temporary filling is removed, the interior is dried and filled with special filling materials to protect the canals. The final stage of root canal therapy is restoring your tooth. This may be done with a porcelain, gold or porcelain/metal crown matching the color of your other teeth.
If you are experiencing dental pain and would like to discuss possible root canal therapy, call to book a consultation appointment, today: 973-328-1225.