Our teeth are very strong, but they are not invincible. A tooth might already have been weakened by decay repair, teeth grinding, or normal wear and tear. If a tooth should break, see your dentist to have it treated right away. Delay can result in bacteria permeating the root canals allowing for infection to develop. If this occurs, the only way to save the tooth is with root canal treatment.
Root Canal or Extraction?
Once the nerve has sustained trauma or infection, you have two options. Whenever possible, a root canal will most always be the recommended choice. Saving an existing tooth is desirable over having it removed. Depending on the location of the tooth, an extraction will likely require some kind of replacement to augment the ability to chew, speak properly, and for aesthetic purposes.
A root canal may be performed by your family dentist, but very often the patient will be referred to an endodontist. This dentist has completed additional years of training, and specializes in performing root canals.
Since this is their specialty, an endodontist can complete treatment efficiently. In addition, they have all the equipment needed to offer the optimum care, as well as a staff trained to assist them for the safety and comfort of their patients.
Root Canal Treatment
A broken tooth will be fairly obvious, but there may or may not be symptoms present that indicate the need for a root canal. Sensitivity to hot or cold; swelling; or discomfort are signs that should not be ignored.
A dental x-ray will be taken to determine the number of canals requiring treatment as well as their position. It is important that all canals be cleared for a successful procedure.
The endodontist will create an access hole in the tooth. Special endodontic files will be used to remove the contents of each canal including blood tissue, pulp, and nerve; and the canals will then be flushed. At this time, your endodontist will determine if additional antibiotics are needed. A material is packed into the tooth; and you will be instructed to return to your family dentist to seal the access point.
A dental crown is usually the final step to complete root canal treatment. Your dentist will prepare the tooth for a crown, and provide a temporary until the crown is available to permanently cement in place.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our team at Access Endodontics today.