Toothaches can mean several different things, but they are most commonly symptoms of a tooth infection. Tooth infections are treated with root canal therapy, and they really aren’t as bad as their reputations claim. These days, root canal therapy is more similar to getting a cavity filled, and receiving treatment will help you get out of pain instead of dealing with the discomfort of an infected tooth. Schedule an appointment at Bayview Dental if you have tooth pain.
About 15% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to fear or misconceptions.
During your appointment, your dentist will perform an exam and review your x-rays in order to properly diagnose your issue. If it is a tooth infection, the next step is to determine the extent of the infection, and decide whether or not root canal therapy will be effective for treating the problem.
To start the procedure, your dentist will numb the site, including the nerves of the treatment area, using a numbing needle.
Once you are comfortably numb, your dentist will begin removing any decayed material starting with the enamel. From there, they will move toward the pulp. Once the infected pulp is removed from the inside of the tooth and the canals have been thoroughly cleaned, the area is flushed with disinfectant to eliminate bacteria.
After the inside of the tooth has been cleaned and sanitized, the root canals will be filled with a rubber-like material called “gutta-percha.” This inert substance replaces the extracted pulp and supports the interior of the tooth to maintain structure.
Once the interior of the tooth has been filled, it will be restored with either a filling or a dental crown, depending on how much enamel was lost during the procedure.
Anterior root canals are performed on your anterior, or front, teeth. They are considered to be more difficult and complex than posterior (rear or molar) root canals. This is because the front teeth are smaller, and do not have a large chewing surface.
In the standard posterior root canal procedure, an opening can be created on the top, or crown, of a molar or premolar. This is not possible with an anterior tooth, so an opening must be created in the lingual surface of the tooth — the side that faces the tongue. In addition, it can be more difficult to restore anterior teeth with a crown or a filling, since the surface of the tooth is much smaller.
Posterior root canals are a more common treatment. The posterior teeth (molars and premolars) become infected more commonly than the front teeth because they have deeper pits, grooves, and fissures that can harbor cavity-causing bacteria and plaque.
In a posterior root canal, an opening is made in the top chewing surface of the tooth, which provides easy access to the interior pulp and root canals. Once the procedure is complete, the tooth is restored with either a filling or a crown, depending on which will best support the remaining tooth structure.
Root canals are a simple, common procedure with about 25 million root canals being performed every year.
Getting root canal therapy can save you from more invasive procedures, like a tooth extraction.