Root canal therapy is a procedure used to save a tooth that is damaged by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth and prevent tooth extraction, the pulp, nerves, and bacteria have to be removed, leaving just the shell of the tooth behind. By removing the pulp, which is the living tissue inside of the tooth, along with any bacteria or infection and replacing it with dental material, the tooth can be saved and complete function can be restored.
In contrast to popular belief, tooth extraction is not always the best solution when dealing with a damaged tooth. In fact, getting a tooth extracted can, in some cases, lead to more invasive and costly restorative procedures such as a dental implant. Root canal therapy allows our Hermitage dentist to use the shell of your tooth as a natural implant for a more cost effective treatment solution.
Although root canal therapy is highly successful and can last a lifetime, they are vulnerable to infection and may need to be retreated in time.
Signs and Symptoms
When looking out for signs of a dying tooth, there are a number of symptoms that can alert you to the need for root canal therapy. Some of these indicators include:
- Swelling and/or tenderness around the damaged tooth
- Severe pain or toothache
- Sensitivity: hot or cold
- An abscess or pimple on the gums
Although these symptoms can be a warning sign of a damaged tooth, not everyone may experiences the same signs and symptoms. However, failure to detect or feel these indicators doesn’t mean you should put off regular dental checkups. A professional exam from Dr. Spadafora can help identify dental health problems before they have a chance to permanently damage your smile.
At our Hermitage office, Dr. Spadafora can complete root canal therapy in a single appointment. Discussing the state of your mouth and what to expect with your dentist will help you prepare and better understand the treatment process.
Root canal therapy consists of removing all signs of decay, cleaning the tooth, and sealing it with either a permanent or temporary filling, depending on the course of treatment. The first step involves numbing the tooth and placing a sheet of rubber, called a rubber dam, around the surgical site to keep it dry from saliva.
After you are comfortable and the area has been protected, a small opening will be made on top of or behind the tooth to allow for the removal of the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria as well as any remaining signs of tooth decay.
Once all signs of bacteria and tooth decay have been removed, Dr. Spadafora will sterilize the inside of the tooth and fill the space with biocompatible material and composite filling. Using CEREC, a digital system that allows our dentist to make custom made crowns while you wait, a crown can be made and then placed to restore the appearance and function of the tooth. The use of CEREC makes this possible on the same appointment as your root canal therapy.
Recovery from root canal therapy can vary from patient to patient but usually involves some tooth sensitivity, discomfort, and inflammation. However, as you heal these symptoms should subside, allowing your teeth to function normally.
Visit Our Hermitage Dentist Today
If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of a dying tooth and think you may need root canal therapy, Dr. Spadafora can help determine the best course of treatment. Contact us today for a consultation and let our experienced staff put your mind at ease by providing the best dental care possible. Call us today to get started!