Root canal therapy is the treatment of choice for a tooth that has a dead and necrotic nerve or a tooth with an active disease of the nerve.
The root canal therapy is often needed to save the infected tooth. If an infected tooth is not treated, an abscess can form and may be very painful. Once the infection is into your jaw bone, it will cause bone loss. The longer a person waits to treat such infections, the lower the long term success for the root canal therapy.
It is very important to catch this disease early. The infection in your tooth and jaw will travel throughout your body and can be detrimental to your overall health.
Some of the symptoms that may indicate your need for root canal therapy include:
- Lingering toothache pain from hot or cold stimuli
- Spontaneous pain
- Pain when biting
- Tooth pain that wakes you at night
- A recent soft swelling of your gum that may release pus or blood
- Pain that radiates to other areas of your mouth
- Pain that persists for a long time (pain that is brief may be more indicative of a cavity or other condition that should also be examined)
What is the process for root canal therapy?
First an examination and diagnosis needs to be made to confirm that root canal therapy is indicated. The affected tooth would then be anesthetized. The tooth would then be prepared for therapy.
This is accomplished by creating an access to the infected nerve tissue. The nerve tissue is composed of a nerve chamber and canals that extend into the root or roots. A dental dam is used to isolate this tooth during the root canal procedure. Very small, narrow, flexible files are used to remove the infected nerve tissue.
Once this is accomplished the internal space of the tooth is disinfected and an inert material, gutta percha, is placed into the canal spaces. The canals are then sealed and the tooth is ready for a restoration which would either be a filling or a crown depending on the needs of the tooth. The entire root canal therapy and restoration can often be completed in two visits.