What is a Root Canal?
Although their name strikes fear in many patients, root canals are a very common dental treatment that can be completed with very little discomfort. A root canal is used to treat diseased pulp and to save a compromised tooth from extraction. Experienced, compassionate dentists, such as Dr. Labib, use root canals to restore tooth function, eliminate pain, and keep patient smiles intact.
Why Have Root Canal Treatment?
The inside of each tooth is filled with a soft tissue called pulp that contains the blood vessels and nerves of that tooth. When the pulp becomes damaged or inflamed, it compromises the health of your whole tooth and can cause a great deal of pain. Pulp inflammation and injury can be caused by many things, but the most common causes are the loss of fillings, deep cavities, cracks, chips in the teeth, or other serious injuries to the mouth.
When your tooth or pulp is injured, bacteria enters and can cause serious infections. If the dental pulp in your tooth is injured, a root canal treatment may be needed to save your tooth and prevent serious infections to the bone and gums.
Root Canals vs. Total Tooth Removal
Dr. Labib understands that many patients are afraid of root canals and would prefer to have their teeth pulled or extracted. However, this isn’t the best course of action if it can be prevented. When a tooth is removed and no implant is put in its place, the surrounding teeth may shift. Shifting can affect your bite and how easily you’re able to chew. It can also make it harder to clean your teeth, leading to other infections and even gum disease.
A root canal is a great way to prevent the problems caused by losing a natural tooth. When you have a root canal, the natural tooth will be saved. A crown will be used to protect the remaining tooth and restore the beauty of your natural smile. Root canal treatments also tend to be less expensive than replacement teeth.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
A root canal is a common and relatively straightforward procedure, but most root canals will take more than one office visit to complete. During a root canal, Dr. Labib will:
- numb your tooth and secure a thin sheet of latex rubber in your tooth to prevent infection from spreading and to keep the tooth dry;
- make an opening through the crown of your tooth into the chamber that holds pulp;
- remove the tooth’s nerve and pulp from the pulp chamber and the space inside the root;
- clean and shape each root canal so it can be filled successfully;
- put medicine in the open area to help get rid of bacteria and prevent further infection;
- fill the root canal with a rubber-like material to seal it;
- place a temporary filling over the tooth to protect it; and
- replace the temporary filling with a permanent crown at a follow-up visit.
If the infection in the pulp has spread beyond the root of your tooth, Dr. Labib may give you an antibiotic to destroy the infection and to protect your bone and gums.
Once the root canal is completed and your tooth is rebuilt, you can expect the results to last for many years. Of course, daily cleaning and regular dental care are essential to protecting your rebuilt tooth and maintaining the the health of your gums.