If you uttered the phrase, “I’d rather have a root canal,” you probably wouldn’t be very excited about doing the thing you’re comparing to a root canal. Therapies to treat infection inside the root of teeth, root canal therapies, have gotten a bad rap. While the infection that necessitates the procedure can be quite painful, root canal therapy will actually alleviate the pain stemming from infection. The caring dental practitioners at Associates in Dental Health (ADH) are here to help you whatever your dental health care needs.
Patients who have an infection in the pulp or nerve center of their tooth may need root canal therapy to correct the problem. It’s important that patients understand the structure of their teeth in order to understand what a root canal infection entails. Teeth are made up of two main sections and three separate layers. The biting or visible surface of your teeth and the root are the two sections, and enamel, dentine, and pulp are the three layers. Tooth enamel is the strongest substance in our bodies, but it is still susceptible to decay when bacteria builds up. The dentine layer below can be considered the shock absorbing layer. This part of the tooth is not as hard as enamel, but it is still solid and provides the shape and structure for your teeth.
Finally, inside the dentine layer, our teeth are filled with pulp and nerves. This is the material that makes it possible for teeth to grow. If decay reaches the soft, central parts of the tooth, it can cause severe pain because all tooth nerves are inside of this pulp. When decay reaches the inner layer of pulp and nerves, root canal therapy is necessary to repair and restore the tooth.
Root canal infection symptoms include:
If you have a root canal infection, our team will thoroughly examine and clean the area around the infected tooth. We will need to x-ray the tooth in order to outline the shape of the pulp layer and root canals. Once this is completed, all of the infected area will need to be removed. We’ll drill a small access hole in the tooth and use files to remove the all of the infected tissue from within. For cases where patients have a severe infection, they may be given an antibiotic to treat the affected areas before the doctor can complete treatment.
Once the tooth is free of all decay and infection, your dentist will place a rubber like substance called gutta-percha into the tooth to replace the extracted pulp. Depending on the extent of damage to the outside of the tooth, your dentist may only need to place a filling to close the access hole, or you may need a more extensive restoration like an inlay, onlay, or crown to fully repair your smile. After your root canal therapy, the pain should diminish significantly though you may experience some tenderness while the tooth and gums are healing.
Associates in Dental Health provides care for the entire family, bringing together children’s dentistry, general family dentistry, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry together in our Bradford dental office. Families come from Haverhill, North Andover, Groveland, and Salem, New Hampshire just to see us and become part of our dental care family. Want to join us as well? Contact us today.