Root Canal Treatment
Sometimes a root canal is the only way to save an infected tooth and in some cases may also be helpful for cosmetic dentistry. The whole medical science of the inner tooth is called endodontics. Teeth are actually living organs of your body.
Teeth have several layers. The outside layer of the tooth is composed of a hard layer of Enamel. Enamel is supported by an inner tooth layer called Dentin, and Dentin at its center is a soft tissue known as the Pulp.
Every tooth has an inner core of soft pulp that holds blood, essential fluids and the tooth’s nerve. The sensations of hot and cold, pressure, and pain are all transmitted to your brain through the nerve inside the pulp.
Although the pulp is important during development of your tooth, it is not necessary for the tooth to remain functional and healthy. The tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it even if the pulp is removed.
Endodontic or root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The most common reasons for inflammation or infection are deep cavities, repeated dental procedures like replacing old fillings, cracks or chips. Trauma can also cause inflammation and often shows up as discoloration of the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess and tooth loss.
Once the pulp of a tooth gets infected, there is no real way to cure it without root canal treatment. The most common symptoms of an infected tooth are throbbing pain, sensitivity to chewing hard foods, and sensitivity when drinking hot or cold liquids. Root canal treatment can provide instant relief of this pain.
When performing certain cosmetic procedures, endodontics can be effective in achieving optimal cosmetic results. Endodontics allows for immediate straightening and recontouring of crooked teeth in the cosmetic smile zone.
The bonus is instant orthodontics.
If you think you have an infected tooth, it is important to get an examination promptly. Based on what we discover, we will recommend the most conservative treatment that makes things better for you.
Please request your complimentary information packet or contact Dr. Nelson to arrange for a complimentary private consultation. Make your request today. If you are experiencing pain, let us know when you fill out the form and we will schedule your visit as soon as possible.
Saving Teeth through Root Canal Treatment
What is root canal treatment?
The procedure involves removing inflamed or damaged tissue from inside a tooth and cleaning, filling and sealing the remaining space.
Why do I need it?
The pulp, or soft inner tissue of your tooth, is normally surrounded and protected by a layer of dentin. Above the gumline, the dentin is protected by a layer of enamel; below the gumline, the dentin is covered by cementum. When a deep cavity, decay or crack destroys these protective layers, the pulp is exposed to the bacteria in your mouth.
This can result in inflammation, infection and, eventually, necrosis (pulp death). A severe blow to the tooth can also damage the pulp. Irritants may then escape from the end of the root and cause a diseased area (apical lesion) in the bone.
Root canal treatment removes the damaged pulp and irritants. This allows the bone surrounding the root end to repair and heal.
Couldn’t I just have the tooth removed?
You could, but then adjoining teeth may shift and interfere with biting and chewing. You can have a replacement tooth implanted or attached to adjacent healthy teeth, but this can be expensive and require even more dental treatment. There is no real substitute for your own tooth, which is more efficient in chewing and biting than an artificial one would be.
How much does root canal treatment cost?
The cost of root canal treatment depends on the severity of your problem, as well as the tooth location and number and shape of canals. Additionally, fees vary depending upon the educational experience of practitioner. Please ask for a cost estimate before treatment begins.
What happens during root canal treatment?
An examination, including radiographs, will be performed. A local anesthetic will be given, if necessary. A sheet of latex, called a “rubber dam,” will be placed around the tooth to isolate it and keep it clean and dry during treatment. Complete treatment consists of the following five basic steps:
- An opening is made in the crown of the tooth.
- The pulp is removed from the pulp chamber and root canals. Tiny instruments (“files”) are used to clean the root canals and shape them to a form that will ensure they will be well sealed. A temporary filling is placed in the opening to seal the opening and protect the tooth between visits.
- The root canals are filled and sealed with a material that prevents bacteria from re-entering. The opening in the crown of the tooth is sealed with a temporary filling. Radiographs (x-rays) are made before, during and after treatment.
- At future appointments, which may be in another department, the temporary filling will be replaced with a permanent filling and/or crown.
- The root canal, permanent filling, and/or crown are evaluated for healing at periodic intervals called recall appointments.
Is this going to hurt?
With modern techniques and anesthetics people report that having a root canal treatment is about as unremarkable as having a cavity filled. Should you experience any discomfort, signal your student or endodontist, who will do everything possible to make you comfortable.
How long will my tooth last?
Although the pulp is removed, your tooth remains alive, nourished by surrounding bond and gum tissues. With a permanent restoration, regular brushing and flossing, proper diet and periodic dental checkups, your tooth has an excellent chance for success.
After a Root Canal
Most patients experience a little soreness after the appointment. This may be due to the injection, the necessity of keeping the mouth open for a long time, or the treatment. Your temporary filling will be hard enough to bite on within approximately a half-hour, but avoid biting or chewing on the treated tooth if it hurts.
Over-the-counter analgesics like acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen usually relieve the discomfort. Should pain last more than a few days, or if severe pain or swelling occur, please call Dr. Nelson
When your root canal treatment is complete, a temporary filling is placed. The tooth needs to be permanently restored to prevent contamination or fracture. The Endodontic Department specializes in endodontic procedures, so you will need to return to your general dentist or restorative department for a permanent restoration. It is important to return promptly because the temporary filling can loosen and leak, possibly causing the root canal treatment to fail, which would necessitate re-treatment.
Directions to Our Office
536 South Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, California 91105 USA
Monday - Thursday: 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
*Special hours by appointment
- Smile makeover using crowns instead of veneers?I recently invested in a smile makeover, and I am really happy with the results. However, I have noticed something and wondered if you could explain. I thought my dentist was going to place porcelain veneers, but it looks like the porcelain wraps all the way around my tooth. Isn’t that actually a crown? Can […]
- Can a fast diagnosis be accurate?One of my molars has become really sensitive to everything—heat, cold, even air. It has a large filling in it, and I’ve worried that it has a hole in it, or has worn thin or something. I have braces, too, and wondered if maybe that had something to do with this. I went to see […]
- Dustin Nelson, DDS