Endodontic therapy, also known as a root canal treatment, is a relatively painless treatment which aims at clearing infection as well as protecting the tooth from subsequent infections.
When a tooth has a deep filling or is traumatized by injury such as bruxing/grinding, the nerve becomes inflamed and may become highly sensitive to temperature. To make the tooth comfortable, we remove the inflamed nerve with anesthesia and place a filling that may be replaced by your dentist with a crown.
Bacteria may also enter the nerve tissue through old fillings, deep cavities, or cracks, and then infect the nerve tissue. If left untreated, an abscess in the bone may form, which could lead to severe pain and swelling.
This not only puts your jawbones at risk for injury, but is also detrimental to your overall health. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
Teeth that require endodontic therapy are not always painful. However, signs you might need a root canal include:
- Severe toothache
- Pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
- Dark discoloration of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the surrounding gums
What happens during endodontic therapy?
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits during which we remove the affected nerve tissue using anesthesia. The tissue is removed with disinfectant and the interior of the tooth is then sealed.
At the end of the treatment, the tooth is sealed with a filling. If your tooth had extensive decay, Dr. D’Addario may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breakage. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your root canal-treated tooth can last a lifetime.
Most teeth can be saved by endodontic therapy. However, tooth extraction may be necessary if:
- Roots are severely fractured
- The tooth does not have adequate bone support
- The tooth cannot be sealed properly on its biting surface
- Root canals are not accessible and therefore cannot be cleaned properly
Endodontic therapy is intended to help save your tooth from extraction. Missing teeth can make you self-conscious, affect your ability to bite and chew, cause other healthy teeth to shift, and have a negative impact on your overall health. By choosing to receive endodontic therapy, you are choosing to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come.