Your Root Canal Questions Answered
Whether you’re nervous about getting a root canal, or not sure whether you need one, here’s what to expect.
The two main components of your teeth are the roots and the crown. The part of the tooth above the gum is the crown. Inside each crown there is a channel that runs through the tooth into a root that anchors it in your jawbone. This channel is called the root canal and it contains pulp – the nerves and blood vessels that bring the tooth the vital nutrition it needs to grow and stay healthy.
There are many dental problems that can cause disease in the pulp. Sometimes an injury such as a car accident, a hard blow, or a crack in the tooth can damage the living tissue inside but the most common cause is tooth decay. Harmful bacteria break through the outer shell of your tooth and open a cavity. If not stopped, the decay will continue toward the nerve of the tooth causing irreversible inflammation in the pulp, which then becomes non-vital. If the root canal is not treated at that time, it will result in an infection or abscess. If the abscess is left untreated you may experience severe discomfort and the infection could spread to the surrounding bone.
The tooth is usually tested in various ways to see how bad the damage is and, if necessary, we will gain access through the crown to take out the diseased pulp. The root will then be permanently filled with special material so that the tooth can be restored. Traditionally, the procedure could take several visits, but recent advances in root canal therapy allow for faster treatment that can often be completed in just one visit, with less discomfort and more accuracy.
What happens after a root canal?
During endodontic treatment, the nerve, blood and nutrient supply to the tooth is removed. This will cause the tooth to become brittle and prone to fracturing which could result in the need to extract the tooth. A full coverage crown is recommended to prevent this from happening.
Some patients decide not to get a crown due to cost. This could result in a fracture that more than likely cannot be restored. The result will cost you more time and money than you had originally planned for.
Root canal therapy is often performed by a general dentist. In some cases, when the treatment is more complex, an endodontic specialist may be required. We have a specialist on our team who can take care of your treatment at one of our Dawson Dental locations.
If you have been referred to an endodontist from your general dentist, we can provide treatment for you and refer you back to your dentist for continuing care. Simply fill in this self-referral form and we will set-up a specialist consultation for you:
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