Root Canal Therapy
What is a Root Canal?
From the outside, your teeth look quite simple. However, the hard enamel layer of your teeth protects a complex system underneath. Just below the enamel is the dentin, which consists of hollow canals that lead directly to the roots of your teeth. Past the dentin is the pulp chamber, which houses soft tissue called pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels and nerves. If your teeth suffer damage, such as decay or a fracture, that damage can create a direct path for bacteria to enter the inside of the affected tooth. Once inside, the bacteria begin to multiply, filling up the interior of the tooth. The bacteria irritate the pulp, leading to inflammation and severe pain.
When bacteria get inside of your tooth and cause an infection, there is only one way to get them out while still keeping the tooth in its socket, a root canal. A root canal is a procedure that removes the infected pulp and disinfects the tooth, eliminating the harmful bacteria inside. Once the tooth is cleaned out, it is filled and covered over with a dental crown.
How do you Know if you Need a Root Canal?
Significant pain in the affected tooth is usually a major indication that there is an infection. This is not the only symptom, however. Other symptoms that can point toward an infection include:
How do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?
If you notice symptoms of an infection, it is important to schedule an appointment right away. We will perform a comprehensive oral exam, during which we visually inspect your teeth and gums, checking for signs of decay, damage, and swelling. Your exam will also include dental X-rays, which will allow us to see the condition of the roots of your teeth and your jawbone. We can see damage to the teeth, bone loss, and abscesses.
What is the Root Canal Treatment Process?
If we find an infection, you are then scheduled for a root canal. This procedure is done under a local anesthetic. Sedation can be provided if you are feeling anxious or fearful. A small hole is drilled into the top of the tooth, providing us with access inside. We use small, specialized tools to remove the pulp. After the pulp is removed, the canals are shaped. The inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected, eliminating the bacteria inside. The tooth is filled with a material called gutta percha, which helps to seal the canals. Finally, a dental crown is placed over the tooth, providing the tooth with strength and protecting it from future infections.
How do I Schedule a Root Canal?
Treating an infected tooth right away is essential for preventing serious complications. If you suspect that you have an infected tooth, call Waterford Dental Group right away to schedule your appointment at General: (925) 621-0078 / Ortho: (925)621-0080 / Pediatrics: (925) 621-0082.