What is root canal therapy? The soft tissue inside the tooth is called dental pulp, or pulpal nerve. Sometimes, because of other disorders, the pulp can become inflamed or infected, and the infection can spread into the surrounding bone at the end of the tooth. When this is happening, you may experience pain and swelling. If the infection spreads like this, you want to stop it in its tracks. The dentist performs a root canal procedure in order to save the tooth. Not only can root canal therapy save a tooth, it can prevent the spread of infection which could affect other vital organs, particularly in patients with diabetes or other immunosuppressive diseases.
What would cause pulpal nerve damage? The damage can be cause by physical irritation, generally brought on by aggressive tooth decay, or trauma, which could result from a blow to the tooth or the jaw
What are the symptoms? Symptoms can include any of the following:
- Pain or discomfort.
- Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness of the nearby gums
What will the Dr. Babik do?
X-rays and other tests will isolate the problem tooth. A common belief is that by removing the nerve, the tooth becomes “dead.” This is not true. The tooth may lose some feeling, but it will be responsive to biting pressure, etc. With proper restoration, the tooth should last as long as your other teeth. The success rates for root canal therapy have been reported to be as high as 95 percent.
During the root canal procedure, the dentist carefully numbs the tooth, removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the tooth, then fills and seals the space.
After a root canal, it is essential that the patient return to have a crown or other restoration placed over the treated tooth to protect it.
Root canal Therapy Verses Extraction:
Many people believe, mistakenly, that having a tooth extracted, and replaced with a bridge or implant, is a good alternative to root canal therapy. This is not true for several reasons. Why?
- Nothing can completely replace your natural tooth. An artificial tooth can sometimes cause the patient to avoid certain foods. Maintaining the natural definition is important so that the patient can continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods necessary for nutrition.
- Root canal treatment, along with appropriate restoration, is a cost-effective way to treat teeth with damaged pulps.
- Placement of a bridge or implant will require significantly more time in treatment.