When the nerve of a tooth becomes decayed or infected, root canal therapy may be required to restore the tooth. A tooth suffering from severe infection or decay may become extremely sensitive to pressure and temperature and can cause intense pain, or no symptoms may be present in the initial stages. However, if left untreated, a tooth abscess will form in the advanced stages of infection and decay.
When confronting severe decay or infection, the patient typically has two options: either pull the affected tooth or save it using root canal therapy. Tooth extraction often results in significant dental problems for nearby teeth and can cause more problems than it solves. Root canal therapy is a much better solution in most cases because it restores function to the mouth and tooth without causing future problems with other teeth.
The reasons our dentists may recommend root canal therapy can include:
• Trauma or injury to the tooth
• A severe abscess or infection has developed
• Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
Root canal procedures will usually require more than one visit to our dental office. Using special instruments, the dentist will remove nerve tissue, bacteria, pulp, and any present tooth decay.Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it is sealed by afilling.
At the next appointment (usually a week after the first appointment), the roots and inner cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with medicated dental materials. The tooth will then be sealed with a filling, and then a crown (cap). This will protect the tooth, prevent further breakage, and restore full functionality.
It is considered normal to experience some pain and discomfort for a short time after the treatment. All pain will subside as the tooth and gums heal. The doctor should give you some care and instructions regarding how you can maintain health and function to your tooth, as well as recommendations on how to care for your tooth during the healing process.