Natural teeth are meant to last a lifetime. So if you are experiencing a serious problem with one or more of your teeth, and all other treatment options have been exhausted, a root canal may be the last chance for a dentist to save your tooth. In years past, diseased or injured teeth were commonly pulled, however in the 21st century, removing a tooth is done only as a last resort.
With advanced procedures in the field of dentistry, many teeth that may once have been pulled are now saved with a root canal procedure. Root canals have a bad reputation, but in reality they are no more painful than getting a new filling.
Why is a root canal needed?
A root canal procedure is the method of treatment for damage or inflammation of the dental pulp, the soft tissue that lies inside of your teeth, and contains the nerves and blood vessels. If the pulp is damaged or infected, it must be treated in a timely manner. Damage can be caused by a crack or chip of the tooth or by a cavity that goes very deep within the tooth where bacteria can cause infection. If left untreated, the bacteria may cause damage to the jawbone as well as necessitating removal of the tooth.
Removing a tooth is done only as a last resort. A missing tooth, not replaced, causes its own set of serious issues. The teeth around the space can shift and cause issues with chewing or speaking. Saving your natural teeth is always the goal of your Houston dentist.
How is a root canal procedure done?
- Your dentist will make sure that your tooth and the surrounding areas are sufficiently numbed so that you will feel no pain, just a little pressure.
- A small protective sheet will be placed over the area to keep the tooth dry and clean during the procedure.
- Next, an opening in the crown of the tooth is made. Your dentist will use very small instruments to clean and remove the damaged or infected dental pulp. The area will then be shaped in order to make space for the filling.
- When the space that once held the pulp is cleaned and shaped, the filling material is placed within it. The filling is bonded to your tooth with adhesive cement to ensure that your root canals are completely sealed.
- Sometimes a temporary filling is placed to close the opening, and then removed before the tooth is permanently restored.
- During another visit to your Houston dentist, you will have a crown or other covering placed to protect it and allow it to be restored completely.
- Occasionally, if the structure of the tooth is insufficient, your dentist may need to place a post inside your tooth. This helps hold the structure of the tooth in place.
Post root canal care
Following your root canal, you may experience some tenderness of the tooth and jaw area. This is normal and not a cause for alarm. The discomfort should respond well to over-the-counter medications and subside in a few days. You should contact your Houston dental office if you develop severe pain or swelling.
Once your tooth has been fully repaired with a root canal procedure by the dental professionals at Ingenious Dentistry, it can last as long as your natural teeth if you take care of it like you would any other tooth. The staff at Ingenious Dentistry is more than happy to answer all of your dental questions. Please schedule a consultation with us today.