Root Canal Treatment
A root canal treatment is considered an endodontic treatment. It can relieve severe tooth pain and save your tooth. First, let’s look at a tooth.
A tooth consists of several layers. The outer, hard shell is the enamel. Underneath that is another hard, but a bit softer, layer called dentin. These layers protect the inner parts of the tooth. Under the dentin is the pulp, a soft tissue that contains blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves. The pulp helps the tooth grow when new teeth are developing. The canals that contain the nerves and extend into the roots are the root canals. An adult tooth that has completely developed can survive without the pulp filling because the tissues around the tooth will continue to supply the nourishment it needs. Most of the procedures performed in our office are to take care of the outside of the tooth. Endodontic treatment is treatment of the inside of the tooth.
Deep decay, a tooth fracture, a broken crown, or many other causes can lead to injury or inflammation, which can lead to infection of the tooth pulp. Left without treatment, this infection will spread and cause an abscess. This is essentially a pocket of infection that can be very painful. The only way to treat infection of the pulp is with root canal treatment.
- Prior to beginning the procedure, Dr. Schmidt will provide local anesthesia around the tooth. Treatment will not begin until the area is numb.
- Next, Dr. Schmidt will open a small hole so that the infected pulp may be accessed. Remember, the area is completely numb, so there will be no pain.
- The pulp, along with its contents and infection, is removed with a special device. The now-empty canals are cleaned and rinsed thoroughly so that no infection remains.
- Filling material called gutta-percha is used to fill the empty spaces left by the pulp. The area is then sealed to prevent new bacteria from entering the tooth.
- An antibiotic may be prescribed to treat any remaining infection or to prevent new infection.
- Minor discomfort may follow the procedure. Follow Dr. Schmidt’s instructions for pain management.
- A return visit will be scheduled to evaluate the tooth and possibly add a crown for stability of the new tooth.
After a root canal treatment and healing period, you should be able to return to a normal diet. Your chewing surface has been repaired and will be able to handle the force of biting and chewing again. The tooth will have a natural appearance and can last a lifetime with good oral hygiene practices.