The dental procedure known as the “root canal” can save a diseased or dying tooth from extraction. While this may seem like a lot of effort and expense for a single tooth, it is important to remember that the same tooth plays a role in maintaining the alignment of all the other teeth along the jaw and ensures that a proper bite is kept. This means the loss of a single tooth could actually bring about greater discomfort, head and jaw pain and move all teeth out of alignment.
How is a root canal performed? First the patient must be examined to determine the cause of the toothache that brought them to the dentist in the first place. While some patients may have decay in the enamel and cusps of their teeth, others will have problems deeper within the tooth. Some decay or cavities can be dealt with by traditional composite, gold or amalgam fillings, while others require a great deal more attention – which means a root canal. Teeth are composed of three different regions, the tough outer shell known as the enamel, a softer layer called dentin and the deepest inner layer often referred to as the pulp of the tooth. It is within the pulp area that root canals are performed. The pulp is made up of blood vessels as well as nerve and lymph tissue, which is the reason that a tooth in need of a root canal can cause such enormous pain or discomfort. When the pulp is disturbed by bacteria or damage, the entire tooth will begin to die, and this causes the body’s immune system to respond, which causes inflammation, infection and pain. Ignoring such pain will not make the issue fade or go away, and in fact, can allow the infection to spread into the jaw, head and neck areas, which can lead to greater trouble. When a root canal is performed, the patient will usually have been on an antibiotic for a period of time leading up to the procedure. The dentist will numb the tooth and surrounding tissue and then drill through the enamel and dentin and down into the pulp of the infected root, where all of the infection is removed. This is not as simple as it sounds, and may require x-rays and inspection to ensure that all the decayed materials are eliminated. The root is then treated with a disinfectant and a sealant before being refilled with a variety of materials which bond to the tooth and permanently fill it. Most patients will then have a temporary filling put in place while the root canal heals, after which time they return to their dentist who inspects the root canal for any further infection, before putting in a permanent filling or crown.
Root canals are performed by traditional dentists as well as endodontists, because they do involve nerves and complex systems that may require a specialist. The modern root canal procedure is aided by a variety of improvements in dental tools and materials. Lasers and ultrasonic tools, improved filling materials and advances in radiography mean that many more teeth are being preserved in a normally functioning state than ever before.Here is the home page of our provo root canal dentist.