Saving Smiles With Root Canal Therapy
Tooth loss is a big issue that impacts the smiles of most adults over the age of 30. Sometimes teeth have to be extracted because of an injury or as a result of periodontitis, but the most common reason is severe decay.
When a decayed tooth develops an internal infection or abscess, there’s only one option to save it from extraction: root canal therapy. Dentists and endodontists perform a collective average of 25 million root canals annually, and with a 95% success rate, root canals save nearly 25 million teeth every year.
Root canals stops pain and infection.
Root canal therapy, often just called a “root canal,” is a treatment option that has an undeserved reputation. Despite advances in modern dentistry and patient comfort, a good number of people still believe that root canals are painful procedures. It’s common for patients to hardly bat an eyelash at the thought of receiving a dental filling, but feel anxiety creep up at the idea of a root canal.
The truth is, root canals don’t cause pain, they actually stop the pain.
The idea that root canal therapy is painful often stems from a poor experience with an inexperienced dentist or endodontist, or more likely, the infected tooth being quite tender due to an abscess.
An abscessed or infected tooth is extremely painful, and often the gum tissue surrounding the tooth will also be easily irritated and tender. This means that during your exam and the numbing process, you may feel temporarily uncomfortable as the anesthetic begins to work. This is very brief and within moments you’ll be completely pain-free, numb, and ready to have your dentist begin treatment.
How Root Canals Save Infected or Abscessed Teeth
Tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria in the mouth. As the bacteria feed on food debris, they produce an acid substance waste product. This acid is what causes tooth enamel to erode and cavities to develop.
How Infected Teeth Happen
Most cavities only damage the surface of the tooth, but if left untreated, these acids will continue wearing away enamel until the interior of the tooth is exposed. Inside the tooth, there is the dentin layer enveloping the pulp layer. The tooth pulp contains your tooth’s blood supply and nerves, and it runs inside each root inside the tooth.
When bacteria reach the pulp, inflammation and eventually infection occurs. An infected, abscessed tooth is especially painful because there are nerves being damaged inside the tooth. This is where root canal therapy comes in to save the day!
The Treatment Process of Root Canals
Root canal therapy treatment is an endodontic treatment, which simply means it treats the inside of the tooth. An experienced dentist or endodontist will perform root canal therapy by accessing the interior of the tooth through a small hole and carefully removing all of the bacteria and infected pulp. Each root within the tooth will be carefully cleaned and the now hollow tooth will be flushed with antibacterial rinses to completely sanitize it.
The final finishing touch is the placement of a beautiful dental crown. Since your tooth will have had the infected dentin and pulp removed, it needs extra protection as it will be weaker than a healthy, natural tooth. Your dentist will fill the empty space with a special rubber-like material and then place a dental crown over the entire tooth. The final result is a tooth that looks and feels just like a normal tooth.
Why Root Canal Therapy is Important
In most cases, root canal therapy is the last resort choice before extraction is necessary. There’s no other way to save an infected tooth unless the infection inside the tooth is removed. This means that, in the majority of cases, there are no alternatives to root canal therapy that will save your natural tooth.
Going without a root canal and opting for extraction isn’t as simple as it seems either. It may solve the immediate problem of an infected, painful tooth, but it also means you’re now faced with side effects associated with missing teeth. Either you’ll replace the missing tooth, which will be more expensive in the long run than a root canal and crown, or you’ll leave the gap and eventually experience jawbone loss, teeth shifting, and a number of other issues.
The first step in deciding whether to pursue a root canal or not is to consult a trusted, experienced dentist who will guide you toward the best solution for your long-term oral health.
Learn more about root canal therapy at Allred Family Dentistry.
The doctors at Allred Family Dentistry provide the best dental care experience for individuals and families in Hampton and Griffin, GA. This includes gentle and effective root canal therapy with stunning porcelain dental crowns.
If you suspect you need a root canal and you’d like to discuss treatment options, call your preferred location or use this online form to schedule an appointment.