A root canal is a procedure that can save an injured tooth from the most dramatic of procedures—extraction. Once an infection has penetrated deep within the tooth and damaged the nerves inside it, there are only a few good options left, and once a tooth is extracted, it is gone forever. A root canal, under the hands of an experienced dentist and a great support team, can often save the tooth and avoid more complicated solutions, such as a bridge, implant, or dentures.
A root canal is complex and requires a great deal of judgment, skill, and decision-making on the part of your dentist. If it is done well, the tooth will most likely not require any additional care. However, mistakes or an incomplete cleaning could result in the need for a second root canal later, or even the extraction of the tooth after all. That’s why it is so important to find a dentist who has years of experience performing successful root canals.
Root Canal Basics
If bacteria and plaque are permitted to build up on the teeth and gums, they can cause an infection that may travel deep into the gums and reach the “pulp” of the tooth—the nerves and blood vessels that nourish the tooth and are normally protected by the hard external layer of enamel. At a certain point, the infection will damage the pulp such that it can not adequately maintain the tooth and it will die. During a root canal, your dentist carefully removes the infected pulp, inserts medication that strengthens and encourages growth for the healthy pulp, and monitors the results to ensure that the tooth returns to full health.
Depending on the extent of the pulp damage, the root canal may take more than one appointment. Most procedures are complete within about a week, allowing the patient to avoid much more expensive and high-maintenance alternatives such as implants, bridges, and other restoration options.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
The deep-reaching infection that necessitates a root canal is often accompanied by severe pain in the area of the affected tooth. However, sometimes the only symptom of infection may be increased sensitivity to temperature, or a change that the patient barely notices at all. Your dentist will be able to spot damaged pulp and a spreading infection, explain the issue and various solutions for it, and work with you to bring about the best possible outcome.
For a root canal or any other major oral procedure, be sure that you are placing your health in good hands! Dr. Ladimer has a long history of performing successful root canals for his patients, and he and his team are ready to help you with your oral health needs. Email or call our office today to learn more.