A nagging or sharp pain in your tooth can keep you from sleeping, working, and even thinking straight! If you’ve been diagnosed with an internal tooth infection, you will need root canal therapy (RCT). However, in some cases, initial diagnosis may be incorrect. Just as you would seek a second opinion on serious medical matters, it’s wise to consult a second dentist regarding your diagnosis of an infected tooth. In some cases, a root canal may not be the only option. It all depends on how advanced the infection is.
Call Walnut Pond Dentistry in Annandale, NJ today to schedule your second opinion consultation with Dr. Uryniak or Dr. Ferris-Zeola. The dentist will examine your mouth and x-rays, then present her findings, along with treatment options.
About Your Teeth
If you’re wondering why your tooth hurts so badly, this lesson in tooth anatomy will help you understand. Human teeth have three main layers:
- Enamel – the second-hardest naturally occurring substance on the planet, and the hardest tissue in the body protects the outside of our teeth
- Dentin – softer, porous dentin creates a buffer between enamel and the core of a tooth
- Core with pulp – at the core of a tooth is a chamber filled with soft connective tissues, blood vessels, and the tooth’s nerve
A tooth’s core breaks into channels (or canals) that run through the roots. Our teeth are alive, even after they stop growing, so they require blood supply. The channels provide passageways so that the tooth’s blood vessels can supply nutrients and remove waste.
When a crack or cavity develops, it can worsen if not treated quickly. Also, a filling or crown may hide damage that is worsening over time. When bacteria can enter the core of a tooth through a crack or decay, infection develops inside the tooth’s core. As bacteria grows, pressure builds up against the tooth’s nerve, causing pain. Sometimes it begins as a nagging toothache. Other times, the onset of pain is fast and sharp.
Double Checking a Diagnosis
Your x-rays will reveal what the dentist needs to know. Sometimes, more than one set of x-rays will be necessary, depending on their view and clarity. The dentist needs to determine whether infection penetrated the core of a tooth before recommending root canal therapy. In some cases, a cavity or crack is extremely close to the core but has not yet penetrated it.
Cavities and cracks that have not jeopardized a tooth’s core may be effectively treated with fillings or crowns. If root canal therapy is indicated, the only alternative treatment would be tooth extraction. All extractions should be followed with replacement, by a bridge or dental implant.
The Root Canal Procedure
When Dr. Uryniak or Dr. Ferris-Zeolla recommend root canal therapy, you’ll need to schedule your treatment. If you’re in pain, we’ll certainly give you the next available appointment, and if your pain is intense, we’ll find a way to treat you as soon as possible.
After numbing your tooth and making sure that you’re totally comfortable, the dentist will make entry into the affected tooth. She’ll use microtools to remove all infection, and then she will sanitize the tooth’s core before inserting gutta percha, a soft manmade material. The gutta percha will allow the tooth to remain in place, so that extraction isn’t required. To complete RCT, a dental crown will be secured to the tooth.
In many cases, the procedure can be completed in a single visit. Some RCTs require multiple visits, and very complex procedures may be referred to an endodontist for specialist treatment.