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Cavities happen to everyone and are usually straightforward to treat, but sometimes they can cause deep infections that inflame the soft tissue inside of your tooth. Cavities that run deep or that have been there for a long time can also cause the ligaments surrounding your tooth to become inflamed, and cause severe infections and pain in jaw area that supports the tooth. Although these infections can be treated with antibiotics, sometimes the tooth is so far gone that the only way to save it is through a root canal.
Indications you need a root canal may include:
Even in the absence of pain, certain byproducts of a diseased pulp can injure the bone that anchors your tooth in the jaw. Without root canal therapy, your tooth will eventually have to be removed.
Although the phrase “root canal” strikes fear into the heart of most patients, root canals are more like deep dental fillings, and nothing to be concerned about. To keep you comfortable, Dr. Kevin F. Postol, DDS will talk with you about your anesthesia and sedation options, just as with a dental filling.
Your root canal will begin with a series of X-Rays, which Dr. Postol will use to determine how deep the infection goes so that he can determine how much anesthetic you need. To prepare for your root canal, a rubber sheet called a dental dam will be put around the tooth to keep it clean and dry during the procedure.
Next, Dr. Postol will create a small hole in the tooth to remove the decay and the inflamed pulp. Tiny dental files are then used to remove the interior of the tooth. Afterwards, the inside of your tooth is cleaned and sanitized.
A root canal and the placement of a dental crown can often restore a tooth’s functionality, eliminate pain, and prevent the loss of the tooth.
Once your tooth is cleaned from the inside out, it is filled with a rubber-like material to keep the tooth strong and stable. A temporary filling is placed at the top of the tooth to seal out new food particles and bacteria.
Unlike other restorative procedures, which aim to restore life and vitality to the tooth, the purpose of a root canal is to remove the infected inner tissue of the tooth and to preserve the structure of the tooth itself. When your root canal is finished, your tooth will no longer be “alive,” but it will be pain-free and functional.
Because your tooth will be free of blood vessels and pulp after the procedure, it can become brittle, which is why a dental crown is required for teeth treated with a root canal. Before you leave the office, you will receive a temporary crown. After your final crown is ready, you will be asked to return to the office to have it cemented in place. Your new tooth will be beautiful, comfortable, and functional.
The root canal process is extremely effective, with initial success rates falling between 85% and 97%. However, because your treated tooth will no longer be “alive,” it will naturally become more brittle and prone to breakage. Crowns are designed to strengthen the tooth, but if they are subjected to enough impact, they can break too. If your root canal fails or your tooth is fractured, it will need to be extracted.
Fortunately, dental implants can replace missing teeth and restore your normal appearance and function. Dental implants are false teeth that are anchored directly into the jawbone, providing much-needed stimulation to the area and keeping your jaw tissue strong and healthy. Dr. Postol is proud to offer implants, and he can talk with you about whether or not implants are right for you.
If you are suffering from tooth pain or infection, contact us today for an appointment so we can make your infected tooth comfortable and strong once again.