Of all the dental procedures you can talk about, “root canal” is the phrase that causes the most frowns. Tell someone you need a root canal, and see what kind of a reaction you get. Something about those two little words seems to imply a torturous treatment designed to make patients dread their upcoming dental appointment. Bad reputation aside, root canals are actually not that bad. In fact, we think root canals are a wonderful thing because they save damaged teeth and prevent the need for extractions. No one wants to lose a tooth, and a timely root canal can take you from “throbbing toothache” to “feeling great” in one or two easy appointments.
Do you have a problem tooth that’s causing you pain? You may need a root canal, Clinton NJ. Visit Drs. Victoria Uryniak and Carson Ferris-Zeolla and we’ll diagnose your problem tooth so we can restore your oral health.
What is a Root Canal?
Root canal therapy is also called endodontic therapy, because it treats the inside (endo) of the tooth (dontic). Standard dental fillings treat the outer portion of a tooth, the hard enamel and/or inner layer of dentin. If a cavity or crack extends into the pulp chamber of the tooth, however, a root canal is the only way to remove infection and prevent it from spreading to the rest of the body.
If your tooth is damaged enough to be causing you a toothache, there’s a very good chance you may need a root canal to save it. You see, only the inner portion of the tooth contains living tissues, such as blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerve endings. A cavity that only reaches into the enamel will not cause pain, so if the nerve endings are involved, the damage has most likely reached the inside of the tooth.
When are Root Canal Treatments Necessary?
Root canal therapy is most commonly used to treat a deep cavity that has spread to deep within the tooth. It may also be necessary if a tooth has sustained a deep crack or significant structural damage. If a crack or fracture extends into the root of a tooth, it opens the door to bacteria and infection. The only way to ensure the tooth can stay in the jaw and continue to function properly is with a root canal. Root canals may also be needed when a restored tooth has suffered secondary decay.
What to Expect at Your Root Canal Appointment
Root canal treatments tend to take longer than standard restorative treatments (like fillings) because they have more steps to complete. Instead of simply removing decay and filling the tooth, we must also remove the living tissues from the pulp chamber and sanitize the inside of the tooth.
When you come in for root canal therapy, you can expect a longer appointment. If this idea fills you with dread, you may want to consider dental sedation to help you relax and avoid discomfort.
A root canal treatment involves the following steps:
- A local anesthetic is used to numb the tooth and prevent any unpleasant sensations.
- The tooth is treated, to remove bacteria and decayed tooth matter.
- The living tissues are removed from inside the tooth.
- The inner portion of the tooth is sanitized and smoothed, to ensure no signs of infection remain. (This includes going deep into the canals of the tooth’s root, which is where we get the term “root canal.”)
- The tooth is filled with dental cement and a rubbery substance called gutta percha, to ensure it feels and acts the same as before.
- The tooth is finished with a dental filling or crown.
Depending on the location and severity of the damage, some root canal treatments may take two appointments. If this is the case, we will explain during your consultation and explain how to care for your treated tooth before it receives the final restoration.
If You Need a Root Canal…
Don’t run and hide! Root canals save damaged teeth and ensure you can keep using them for many years in the future. Failure have root canal therapy when it’s needed will lead you down a path that ends in the need for a tooth extraction. Some patients even experience painful abscesses and/or infections that compromise your overall health.
Call our Clinton NJ dental office if you have a painful tooth that’s be causing you problems. A root canal in time may save your tooth! Call us today at (908) 200-7007 for an appointment or book through our website.