When is Root Canal Therapy Necessary?

root canal therapy

Teeth consist of multiple layers of tissue that are all substantially softer than the top surface of the enamel. Within the center of the tooth where the root lies is the dental pulp, and this consists of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues. As one of the main sources of tissue formation within the tooth and responsible for keeping it healthy, tooth pulp is essential, and when it suffers damage, the entire tooth is in danger. When decay spreads into the tooth root and threatens the dental pulp, root canal therapy is the best way to prevent losing the affected tooth.

When root canal therapy becomes necessary

It’s important to know what to expect from root canal therapy and to learn the basics can help prepare patients for the procedure. Root canal therapy becomes necessary when infection penetrates the tooth root. X-rays are the best way to diagnosis this issue, but other symptoms that indicate a problem include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Darker color inside the tooth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Extreme toothache

A decaying tooth root can also cause an abscess in nearby bone and gum tissue, and this can lead to swelling in the neck or jaw, bad breath, bitter taste and fever in patients. To diagnose the condition properly, patients need to visit their dentist promptly, and if an infection is found, root canal therapy is a common recommendation.

Root canal therapy procedure

Root canal therapy starts out in a similar way as filling a cavity, but there are additional steps the dentist performs to remove the infected dental pulp. Patients receive a local anesthetic to prevent pain, and the dentist removes decayed tissue from the tooth as the dentist forms an opening to the root. The dentist uses a special tool to remove the pulp and clean the roots and then applies antibiotics within the roots to prevent further infection. At the end of the procedure, the dentist seals the root canal with a dental material and applies a harder material on the chewing surface of the tooth to replace the lost dentin and enamel.

Placing a dental crown

During root canal therapy, the dentist usually removes a large amount of tissue, and this weakens the tooth. To protect the tooth, the dentist often places a customized crown on the tooth-restoring function and form while replicating the shape, color, and texture of the original tooth. The permanent crown provides anatomical structure and support and strengthens the otherwise weakened tooth.  

After the procedure

Patients should avoid, if possible, chewing on the particular tooth until the permanent restoration is placed.  If temporary filling material dislodges, contact your dentist for quick replacement until the tooth is ready for the permanent restoration.

It’s common to experience discomfort and soreness in the treated tooth for a few days, but this is easy to treat with ibuprofen.

Infected dental pulp is a serious issue that won’t go away on its own and requires a dental procedure to repair. Greater Baltimore Prosthodontics will work with you to diagnose the problem and help you decide on the best restorative treatment for your dental needs.

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