When the nerve inside the tooth (known as the pulp or root canal nerve) becomes infected or dies, it’s often necessary to perform root canal treatment in order to salvage the tooth. Essentially, we remove the very small, interior nerve tissue without affecting the gums, roots or bones – similar to fixing a cavity but slightly deeper inside the tooth.
How Do Root Canals Get Infected?
Bacteria makes contact with the teeth in the form of plaque. If left untreated, plaque erodes the enamel and dentin and eventually becomes a cavity. This unchecked decay will eventually expose the pulp and lead to heightened sensitivity and discomfort. If the infection isn’t tended to, it will only travel deeper into the tooth roots and eventually into the jaw. Here, the bacteria dissolves the bone and creates an abscess.
Multiple dental procedures, cracks, fillings or injuries also are cause for the nerve to be removed. The bottom line is that it’s imperative to make an appointment if you experience:
- Severe toothache when chewing
- Prolonged sensitivity to extreme temperatures
- Tooth darkening
- Gum swelling
- Spontaneous pain (begins hurting for no apparent reason)
- Lingering pain (lasts for minutes or hours)
- Awaken you while sleeping from pain
- Pain increases when lying down
- A throbbing or pulsating pain.
If left untreated, the pain will worsen until it becomes excruciating. Be sure to make an appointment before it gets to this point!
Root Canal Procedure:
- Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is offered to all of our patients in order to make the entire experience – much more comfortable and pleasant.
- Anesthesia is then administered to thoroughly numb the tooth and surrounding gums.
- A small hole is drilled to access the root canals and pulp chamber.
- The affected pulp tissue is removed with specialized instruments designed to clean the interior of the tooth.
- After applying sterilizing and antibacterial solutions, we apply filling material inside the canal space to seal the root canal.
- We may prescribe oral antibiotics to prevent further infections.
- Finally, to prevent further decay, we will schedule an appointment to provide a filling or crown to reinforce your tooth structure and seal the top of the tooth.
When a tooth is beyond repair, it’s likely time for an extraction. Be it from trauma, periodontal disease, or tooth decay, we perform simple and surgical tooth extractions based on our patient’s needs. The most common extraction procedure is to remove a patient’s wisdom teeth. Many people will need wisdom teeth extraction at some point in their life to avoid serious infections.
Once an extraction is completed, we take careful consideration to preserve the empty space where the tooth was just pulled from. Failure to tend to the extraction site can leave patients susceptible to problems with speaking, biting, and chewing.
Dr. Easter and his staff are experienced at performing both root canals and extractions. Contact us today to set up an appointment for a tooth examination.