Do you feel extreme pain in one particular tooth? Is this tooth sensitive to all kinds of foods, even if they aren’t too hot or cold? If you suck in over the tooth, does it also cause pain? If a tooth is highly sensitive even to mild sensations, it may mean that the pulp is infected. In such a case, you will need to have root canal therapy.
An Overview of the Root Canal
The teeth are made of two parts: the crown and the roots. The crown is the visible part of tooth that you see when you smile. Beneath the gums, the tooth is anchored by the tooth roots. These are prong-like structures that extend from the tooth crown deep into the gums and alveolar bone. The front teeth have two roots while the back teeth may have three or four roots.
The root canal is the hollow space in the center of the tooth roots, thus its name. This canal houses the tooth pulp, soft tissue which is directly connected to the blood vessels and nerve endings underneath the jaw bone. The pulp is found right in the middle of the tooth, far from the enamel and protected by the dentin.
When is Root Canal Therapy Necessary?
There are times when the tooth pulp gets damaged or infected. Some common instances that call for root canal therapy include:
- Trauma. When your tooth is injured due to trauma, the internal tissues may also be damaged and swell. This can cause extreme pain and discomfort, even though there are no visible symptoms. This kind of damage can only be seen on an X-ray.
- Tooth Decay. Tooth decay starts from the enamel, but if it remains untreated over time, the decay may go deeper into the tooth and eventually reach the center where the pulp is located. Once the decay reaches the pulp, the infection can cause inflammation and pain. The tooth will also be very sensitive because of the exposure of the pulp to the infection. To fix this problem, root canal therapy is needed to remove all signs of the infection.
- Gum Disease. When gum disease spreads to the tooth root, it can enter the root canals and also infect the pulp. In such cases, root canal therapy is highly recommended. However, in the rare case that the tooth root has also been affected, a procedure known as root amputation may be required.
What Happens During Root Canal Therapy?
Before undergoing root canal therapy, Dr. Brown needs to first confirm that it is the best treatment for your dental problem. This is determined through evaluation of X-rays and visual examination.
Once Dr. Brown has made the recommendation for root canal treatment, the appointment is schedules. It may take multiple visits to complete the procedure. On your first visit, your dentist will drill into the crown to access the tooth pulp. This is usually done under a local anesthetic so that the area is numb and you won’t feel any pain. If you have dental anxiety, sedation is also available to keep you relaxed throughout the procedure.
Once the pulp is clearly exposed, Dr. Brown will use rotary endodontic files to clean out the root canals, leaving no pulp or nerve tissue behind. Rotary endodontic files make root canal treatment faster, less painful, and more accurate.
After the root canals have been cleaned, they will be disinfected using a liquid antiseptic (usually sodium hypochlorite). Once the root canals are clean and fully disinfected, your dentist will seal the root canals with gutta percha to prevent reinfection. The center of the tooth where the access hole was made will be filled with composite resin.
You may need to have a dental restoration to cover up the access hole made during root canal therapy depending on the extent of the decay. Crowns or onlays are the best choices to fix these holes. If you decide to get a restoration, an impression of your tooth will be taken and sent to a dental laboratory where the prosthetic will be fabricated. Once the restoration is ready, you will be called for a second visit to install and finalize the restoration.
Is Root Canal Therapy Safe?
Yes, root canal therapy is completely safe and effective in prolonging the life of the tooth. The tooth pulp serves no specific function apart from giving teeth some sensation. Without the pulp, the tooth will still remain intact and healthy. You just won’t be able to feel hot or cold with it.
Dr. K. Pat Brown, DDS, has done hundreds of root canal treatments over the course of his career and all of his patients walked out of our office with a big smile on their faces. He is also very eager to do follow-up consultations to ensure that his patients have long-term success with their endodontic treatment.
Root Canal Therapy in Temecula, CA
If you would like to know whether you need root canal therapy based on your symptoms, please give us a call at (951) 695-6269 or send us a message using our contact page. We will set up an appointment for your dental consultation so that Dr. Brown can give you a complete dental exam, and his treatment recommendations.
To know more about our dental practice and services, you can stop by our office at 27450 Ynez Rd #204, Temecula, CA. We are open on weekdays from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Our dental staff are always here to assist you.