When the tooth becomes painful, there are usually two options. The first option is to extract the tooth that is causing the pain, and the second option would be to do a root canal. Many people have a misconception of the fact that you only need a root canal if your tooth hurts, however, this is not true. It is true for most people that if there is a lot of decay in the tooth, it becomes symptomatic, however, for some, it remains asymptomatic without causing pain until the tooth is severely rotten to the point where the tooth becomes unrecoverable.
A root canal is a final resource in saving your tooth. If the tooth has too much cavity to start with, as it would be impossible to accumulate even after a crown procedure, root canal therapy would not be indicated. The general idea would be that if you don’t have too large a cavity you can get fillings and if the cavity gets closer to your pulp chamber you would need a root canal to recover the tooth. However, if the cavity is too large, it may even be too late for a root canal and the tooth needs to be removed.
Each tooth has dental pulp (pulp chamber) within the tooth, which is a center of the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. Within each root, there is a root canal, in some cases more than one root canal, which contains nerves. By doing root canal therapy (endodontic therapy), we are removing the nerve and making the tooth asymptomatic.
Signs That You Need A Root Canal:
- An abscess (ball in the gum tissue)
- Discoloration (due to injury)
- Too much sensitivity in a specific tooth, especially after a large filling
- X-ray showing the presence of a cavity near the nerve causing perforation in the pulp chamber
The Root Canal Procedure
Root canal therapy may require one or two visits to complete the entire procedure. Depending on the level of infection, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics before starting the procedure, as anesthesia may not work very well with the infection. The infection usually compensates for the anesthesia. On the first visit, the pulp chamber is accessed by drilling a small hole in the upper surface of the tooth. The nerve canals in each root are then removed. On the second visit, the nerve canals and root canal fillings were emptied. Depending on the case, these two visits can be combined into one visit. In general, incisors (front teeth) and premolars are much simpler compared to molars and may require only one visit.
How Is Root Canal Therapy Performed?
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, your dentist will likely recommend non-surgical treatment to remove the diseased pulp. This therapy usually involves local anesthesia and can be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. The success of this type of treatment occurs in approximately 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the probability of success is not favorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes apparent during or after treatment. We use local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort. Additionally, we will provide nitrous oxide analgesia if indicated.