Removal used to be the only option for a tooth that had a diseased or injured pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth). Now, root canal therapy is the treatment of choice to cure such infections and save the tooth. By preserving the tooth, root canal therapy can prevent the problems to adjacent teeth that extraction (tooth pulling) can cause, helping maintain dental health and saving money in the long run.
Modern root canal therapy can usually be performed with little or no discomfort. By removing inflamed or damaged tissue, a root canal procedure can put an end to pain and help prevent serious complications such as jaw infections.
During a root canal, the pulp and nerves of the tooth as well as bacteria and any decay are removed. The resulting cavity is sealed off with material that prevents bacteria from reentering the tooth. This procedure is sometimes referred to as a “pulpectomy.”
Root canal therapy is highly successful and usually lasts for the life of the tooth, although rarely additional treatment is necessary.
Indications that root canal therapy may be necessary:
- Severe toothache.
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold.
- Swelling and/or tenderness.
Occasionally no symptoms are present.
Reasons for root canal therapy:
- Decay is affecting the tooth’s pulp.
- An abscess or infection has developed at the root tip or inside the tooth.
- Injury or trauma has caused the pulp to die, risking infection.
A root canal procedure is performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist) over the course of one to three visits. Your tooth may be sensitive for several days following treatment, but this will diminish as the tooth heals and the inflammation subsides.
Skill and technique on the part of the endodontist are critical for comfort during a root canal procedure. At South Shore Dental Group our doctors are specialists with years of experience performing root canal therapy. We will give you care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your tooth following root canal treatment.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about root canal therapy or to schedule an oral health consultation with one of our doctors.