ROOT CANAL THERAPY
Root canal therapy is formally known as endodontic therapy. There are various reasons why your dentist may need to perform a root canal on your tooth, including:
1. Deep decay in or near the nerve tissue. If a tooth has a large amount of decay, over time, the decay can cause a pus-filled infection in the bone known as an “abscess.” The abscess will cause swelling, pain, and can be life threatening in some cases. Thus, it is very important to your health to complete the root canal treatment prior to restoring the tooth, when it is indicated.
2. Trauma to the face and oral cavity. If you have had an accident that resulted in an impact to your mouth and/or teeth, a root canal may be necessary because the nerve might be traumatized or become “necrotic” which may become a source of infection. Your dentist will evaluate your dentition during your consultation to determine what treatment is necessary to maintain a healthy smile.
3. Biting trauma. Some patients may have a condition known as bruxism or “grinding and clenching.” Bruxism is when teeth are pushed together with extreme force as a reaction to stress, or can also occur out of habit. Since the jaw bone is part of the strongest hinge in your body, you are naturally able to exert high forces on your teeth without being aware of it. In some cases of bruxism, the nerve inside the tooth may be damaged and require a root canal. If this is the case, your dentist will review your treatment options for the teeth involved and also review the need for an occlusal guard or “mouth guard” to help prevent further damage to your teeth.
What is involved in having root canal therapy?
If your dentist recommends root canal therapy due to decay or “cavity,” the decay must first be removed from the tooth. Next, the pulp or “nerve and blood vessels” are removed from the center of the tooth, cleaned, disinfected, and sealed. Once this phase of the treatment is completed, the tooth center will need to be filled with a composite resin and in most cases will require a crown. The crown may be necessary to prevent the tooth from fracture.
Your dentist will review the treatment and provide appropriate pain management throughout therapy based on your specific needs.