Why do I need root canal therapy?
To help you understand why you might need a root canal, we need to first explain the anatomy of a tooth. Under the white enamel and another hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp.
The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The pulp is important during a tooth’s growth and development.
However, once a tooth is fully mature it can survive without the pulp, because the tooth is continuously nourished by the blood supply surrounding it.
Root Canal treatment (endodontic therapy) is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. There are several reasons why this can happen, including deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, any physical trauma to the tooth such as a fall or blow, may cause pulpal damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks.
If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain and eventually lead to an abscess, which, besides being very painful, can cause damage to the bone around the tooth.
Symptoms of pulp damage include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, pain while chewing or biting, and swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. Sometimes, there are no symptoms.
The purpose of a root canal is to save your tooth. The only alternative is to remove the tooth and replace it with an artificial one (bridge or implant). Although modern restorative techniques are very effective, we believe your best teeth are your own. If properly performed and under normal circumstances, a root canal treated tooth can last a lifetime.
How is root canal performed?
Root Canal therapy involves removing the diseased or dead pulp and replacing it with a substance that will help prevent any reinfection. Although each case is different, the steps outlined below are ones generally followed in our office.
Step 1. Examination and diagnosis including your medical history and oral exam.
X-rays of the tooth will be taken. If a root canal procedure is required, Dr. Orobitg will discuss with you what he intends to do and answer any questions you might have.
Step 2. Preparing you for the procedure.
Root canals are performed with a local anesthetic to the area. You will wait several minutes until the tooth and surrounding area are totally numb. A protective “dam” is used to isolate your tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
Step 3. Your tooth is opened.
Dr. Orobitg will gently makes an opening in the crown of the tooth. Any tooth decay and broken fillings are removed.
Step 4. Cleaning and Shaping of the Root Canal system:
This procedure is the most precise and time consuming. It involves complete removal of the infected pulpal tissue. It is by far the most important phase of root canal therapy
Step 5. Filling the Canal
After the space is cleaned and shaped, the root canal is filled with a biocompatible material.
Lastly, we will fill your tooth or restore it with a crown.
How painful is the root canal treatment?
The actual treatment itself should not be any more painful than having a tooth filled. Many of our patients are very surprised and tell us that they didn’t feel anything after the initial injection to numb the area.