Root Canal Treatment
People often think that root canal treatment is an extremely complex and dangerous procedure. Some equate root canal treatment with tooth extraction or believe that it means their entire tooth is rotten. You only need root canal treatment when bacterial decay has infected too much of your tooth, but it doesn’t mean you have to lose the tooth entirely.
Basically, emergency root canal treatment is a procedure in which the decayed parts of the tooth are removed in order to prevent the infection from spreading. Please continue reading for a detailed overview of the root canal procedure and to find out how is a root canal infection treated.
What is an Emergency Root Canal Treatment?
The anatomy of the tooth is made up of the outer enamel, followed by a dentin layer, followed by the pulp within the root canal. The pulp is a soft tissue and it contains the blood vessels and the nerves responsible for temperature sensations. If a bacterial infection spreads into the pulp chamber of your tooth, you may end up with an abscessed tooth in which you get pus pockets within the roots. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to various problems, including bone loss and gum infection.
When this happens, root canal treatment becomes necessary. During this procedure, the dentist has to drill into the teeth and remove all of the infected pulp. This is the only way to stop the infection from spreading. It’s safe to remove the nerves within the pulp as well because those nerves are only responsible for hot and cold sensations. Doing this stops the bacterial decay in its tracks.
When is Root Canal Suggested by a Doctor?
A dentist would only recommend a root canal treatment if there are no other options, i.e., if it’s a last resort to save the tooth. In most cases, the dentist would try to avoid the root canal procedure by simply filling the cavities. But once the infection spreads to the pulp chamber, dental fillings are no longer an option. That’s when a dentist suggests a root canal treatment.
You can, however, avoid a root canal procedure altogether if you simply watch out for signs of tooth decay. The following are some signs you should visit the dentist immediately:
- If you suffer from toothaches while biting and chewing.
- Presence of pimples and pus around the gums.
- Chipped, cracked, or decayed teeth and gums.
- Hot or cold sensations in your teeth.
- Swollen or sensitive gums.
- Gums that irritate and bleed easily while brushing.
- Presence of cavities.
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, it’s likely that you’re suffering from gum disease, cavities, or other dental issues. In that case, you should see a dentist immediately so they can stop the bacterial infection from spreading to the pulp, thus preventing the need for root canal treatment.
Root Canal Procedure: How is a Root Canal Infection Treated?
The root canal procedure is conducted by the dentist or an endodontist. The following are the steps involved:
- The dentist takes an x-ray exam to gauge the spread of infection.
- The dentist uses anesthesia around the affected tooth so the entire procedure is painless. In some cases, the nerves in the pulp chamber will anyway be dead so you won’t feel pain, but anesthesia is used anyway as a precaution.
- A rubber dam is placed on your teeth so your saliva can’t interfere with the root canal procedure.
- The dentist excavates the tooth and removes all of the infected pulp and nerves from the chamber.
- With the help of root canal files, the dentist cleans the entire excavated hole and then uses sodium hypochlorite to flush out all of the debris.
- The dentist has to now seal the excavated cavity. This can either be done immediately or, in some cases, after applying a medicine for the infection.
- If the dentist applies the medicine and decides to wait for a weak before sealing it, then they’ll also place temporary fillings just to prevent bacterial contamination.
- Once the tooth is ready for sealing, the dentist will use a sealer paste to fill the insides of the tooth. The outsides of the tooth will be filled using regular dental fillings like porcelain, composite resin, silver, or gold cast.
- In some cases, the dentist may also recommend that you get a dental crown, i.e., a porcelain or ceramic cap for your tooth. This is done to protect your tooth, which is left weakened after the pulp is removed.
How Successful are Root Canals Treatment?
Most root canal treatments are pretty successful and a tooth that has undergone the procedure may also last a lifetime if you take good care of it. However, if you grind or clench your teeth often, you may want to protect the treated tooth with a dental crown. This is often a better alternative to dental implants or bridges because the dentist doesn’t have to alter the structure of the surrounding teeth either.
How Common are Root Canals?
Root canals are an extremely common treatment. There are approximately 15 million root canal procedures done in the United States every year. Out of those, root canal treatments have a 95% success rate.
Schedule a Root Canal Procedure
At Richmond Dental PLLC, we prefer using the least invasive and complex procedures available. As such, we only recommend a root canal procedure if there’s no other way to save your teeth and if the infection has already spread to your pulp and nerves. If you have any of the signs of tooth decay, then please schedule a root canal procedure consultation right now so we can save your teeth.