What is a Root Canal?
A "root canal" refers to a procedure that is done in an effort to save a severely infected or decayed tooth. It becomes necessary to perform a root canal procedure if an infection makes its way to the pulp (or nerve) of the tooth. If the pulp of a tooth becomes damaged by infection, a root canal procedure will remove the infection, damaged nerves and any bacteria that are present. After the inner portion of the tooth is cleaned out, it is then sealed, protecting against the spread of further infection and restoring the tooth to proper function.
There are many different reasons why a tooth might become infected, the most common reasons are a result of: cavities, tooth cracks, tooth fractures, large fillings, incorrect inlays and onlays or crowns, or even excessive wear on the tooth.
Reasons For Root Canal Therapy
Your dentist may deem it necessary that you undergo root canal therapy if:
|•||There is an abscess that has developed in the core of the tooth or near the tip of the root|
|•||If the decay has reached the inner living part of the tooth (the pulp) and now poses the potential for the spread of infection|
|•||There has been significant damage to the tooth caused by trauma|
|•||Your teeth have been excessively worn down due to bruxism (teeth grinding)|
Root canal therapy is the preferred method of repairing, or rather saving, a decayed tooth that might otherwise be extracted. Contrary to common belief, tooth extraction is not an ideal solution in dealing with a decayed or infected tooth. Many patients believe that extraction is the most cost-effective solution to dealing with a decaying, problematic tooth. However, what most do not realize is that simply removing a tooth and not properly replacing it will ultimately lead to alignment issues among other teeth, as well as bone loss in the jaw. Both of which will inescapably result in costly restorative surgical procedures.
Though root canal therapy generally has a very high success rate, it is not a 100 percent guarantee the tooth will not experience further issues. However, taking care to have a permanent restoration placed within 30 days of root canal therapy will dramatically increase the odds of a lasting healthy tooth.
The Root Canal Procedure
The root canal procedure will require two appointments and will be performed Dr. Primley in our office. The procedure itself will begin with the administration of anesthesia – the type to be determined on a case by case basis. Once the entire area is numbed Dr. Primley will gently create a hole at the top of the infected tooth. It is from this hole that the infection, decay and damaged portion of the tooth's pulp will be removed. Also, it is through this hole that the area will be thoroughly cleaned and a medicated solution applied to remove any remaining bacteria. The tooth itself will be given an adequate amount of time to heal before you return for your follow-up appointment. It is at this appointment that a permanent crown will be placed to protect the tooth.
In some cases the infection will be so severe and the root system so damage and complex, that a specialist may be needed to complete the root canal procedure. If this is the case, Dr. Primley will work closely with the endodontic specialist in sending over all necessary records and reviewing the treatment plan. After the tooth has healed from the root canal therapy Dr. Primley will place the permanent restoration. If you are one of these cases, in which it is necessary to outsource a specialist, our trusted office staff will work diligently at coordinating your appointments between our office and the specialist's. Additionally, they will make certain that all financial responsibilities are laid out in a comprehensive manner for you to understand.
If you are experiencing discomfort in your mouth or think you may be overdue for a checkup give us a call at (541) 604-2900 to schedule an appointment today.