Root Canal Therapy
WHAT IS ROOT CANAL THERAPY?
Root canal therapy is designed to correct disorders of the dental pulp -- the soft tissue inside the center of the tooth. Dental pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. In 95 percent of these cases of pulpal infection, the natural tooth can be saved through modern endodontic procedures.
WHAT CAUSES PULPAL NERVE DAMAGE?
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PULPAL NERVE DAMAGE?
The following are the most common symptoms of pulpal nerve damage. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Pain in the tooth when biting down
Tooth pain while chewing
Oversensitivity of the teeth with hot or cold drinks
Throbbing pain at night, that wakes you up.
WHY IS ROOT CANAL THERAPY NECESSARY?
Without treatment, the infection of the dental pulp will spread to the bone around the tooth, making it unable to hold the tooth in place.
WHAT DOES THE ROOT CANAL PROCEDURE INVOLVE?
Treatment begins with the initial removal of the tooth crown, or top, to allow access to the pulpal tissue. Once the affected pulpal tissue is exposed, the affected area is removed. The area surrounding and containing the pulpal tissue is carefully cleaned, enlarged, and shaped to provide a clean, bondable surface for filling with a permanent filler to prohibit any further infection and discomfort. In most cases, the procedure can be finished in two, one hour appointments.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH ROOT CANAL THERAPY?
If you have an infected tooth, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body. People who have a hard time fighting off infections may need to take antibiotics before and after a root canal. Such people include those who have artificial heart valves or were born with heart defects.
WHAT POST-OPERATIVE CARE IS NEEDED FOLLOWING A ROOT CANAL?
Once the root canal therapy is completed, there will be changes to adapt to, including:
Brittleness. A pulpless tooth is more brittle than a non-treated tooth and great care should be taken to avoid fracture and chipping.
DIscoloration. A non-vital tooth may become discolored over time, which can be treated with bleaching. In most cases, the discoloration poses no threat to the health of the tooth.
In addition, soft tissue inflammation may be a source of irritation in the weeks following the procedure .