Enamel may be the hardest substance in the human body, but below the surface of teeth are softer tissues that are far less resilient. When disease spreads to the softer tissues and dental pulp within a tooth’s roots, it can lead to prolonged pain and complications such as tooth loss. To combat decaying roots, we offer safe and effective root canal treatment to our patients in the Bismarck area. Here’s what you should know about a root canal procedure and what you can expect from it.
Why Root Canal Treatment?
A tooth’s roots don’t only hold it in place; within the roots is a collection of nerves and blood vessels that are referred to as dental pulp. This pulp is responsible for connecting the tooth to the rest of the body while stimulating growth and regeneration of the tooth’s harder, external tissues. If decay within the tooth extends down to the roots, it poses a serious risk of eventual tooth loss, as well as spreading to nearby teeth and gum tissue.
Similar to a dental filling, root canal treatment will remove decay, restore a tooth’s strength, and prevent further damage to the area. Because the roots of teeth are especially sensitive and vital to the health of your mouth, a root canal procedure will prevent further discomfort and health risks often caused by advanced decay.
Candidates for Root Canal Treatment
If your roots are suffering from decay, you will likely benefit from root canal treatment. Although the procedure carries few risks of complication, all candidates should be able to undergo minor oral surgery with a local anesthetic. If treatment is not performed, the most likely needed procedure will be tooth extraction and replacement. Consequently, patients looking to save their teeth from a deep infection are often good candidates.
If you are currently suffering from decaying roots, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Toothache, particularly beneath the gum
- Pain when biting or chewing
- Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures (such as with certain foods)
- Swelling in the gum or jaw
- An abscess in the gum
- Dark discoloration on the tooth
How Root Canal Treatment is Performed
If you are determined to be a good candidate for root canal treatment, the procedure is similar to a dental filling, only with more care and precision within the root canal itself. To begin, your cosmetic dentist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth, gum, and jaw. The procedure will then be underway:
- Decay will be removed, generally through the use of a dental drill. Decaying tissue will first be removed from the tooth’s upper crown, as the dentist gradually works down toward the roots.
- The roots will be cleaned using a thin tool to gently remove infected pulp. Usually, all tissue within the root must be cleaned out to prevent any lingering decay. If an abscess is present below the roots or near the jaw, it will be drained at this time.
- Antibioticswill be administered into the roots of your teeth and surrounding tissue, preventing new infections from arising post-surgery.
- The tooth will be filled with different materials for the roots and crown, each appropriate as a replacement for lost tissue. Due to the extent of tissue loss in most root canals, a dental crown may be necessary to cover and protect the tooth.
Don’t Let Tooth Decay Spread
If you suspect you may have a cavity, seek restorative treatment before the problem can spread. For larger cavities that cause excessive pain, a root canal treatment may be the appropriate way to preserve your teeth.
Alternatively, our office provides general and cosmetic services for patients of virtually any dental need. From professional cleanings to dental bonding or porcelain veneers, Heringer Dentistry is committed to your smile. Contact our practice today for a detailed explanation of our services or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Everett E. Heringer.