Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a treatment that can save a decayed tooth that would otherwise need extraction. When tooth decay is not treated and disease gets inside of the tooth, it causes pain and threatens to destroy the tooth. Root canal is not painful; it stops pain and restores the diseased tooth to a fully functioning and healthy one.
The proper term for root canal and the treatment of the inside of a tooth is endodontics. Inside of a tooth, living tissue and cells are collectively called the tooth’s pulp. The “canals” that are cleaned during an endodontic procedure are complex and narrow. The goal of root canal therapy is to completely clean out all diseased and dead or dying tissue, sanitize the area and refill it with dental material to restore the tooth to health and full function.
The first step is to drill a hole in the tooth so that the dentist can access the inner portion with special dental instruments for cleaning. The interior of the tooth is thoroughly cleared out and cleansed. Gutta percha, a strong dental material, fills in the empty space. The hole in the tooth will need to be filled or in some cases, capped with a dental crown to restore the exterior of the tooth. This is usually done at a second appointment.
Root canal has an undeserved reputation for being extremely painful. In reality, most patients who have undergone a root canal in modern times say it is quite comfortable. The pain of constant toothache caused by a decaying tooth is far worse, and root canal will stop that pain.
When someone has a decayed tooth that is at risk of falling out or requiring extraction to stop pain and the spread of decay, a choice has to be made between attempting to save it with root canal therapy or giving up the tooth. It is always recommended that every attempt be made to save the tooth, because natural teeth are always better than any replacement. A tooth that has been treated with root canal therapy maintains its roots and can last for the patient’s lifetime.
Root canal is usually successful, but occasionally, it may fail to completely cleanse all of the canals, and a repeat procedure may be required. Recovery from root canal is usually quite quick, with sensitivity to the tooth that was treated for a few days usually all that is experienced. This means that the tooth will feel “different,” but it shouldn’t be painful. Your jaw may also be a little sore because of the time it was open during the procedure.
If you would like to learn more about root canal therapy or schedule an appointment with Dr. Omar Sattout, call Kettleman Dental in Lodi, California now.