Missing teeth can make you self-conscious, affect your ability to bite and chew, cause other healthy teeth to shift, and have a negative impact on your overall health. By choosing to receive endodontic treatment, you are choosing to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come. Endodontic treatment, also known as a root canal treatment, is a treatment of the tooth aimed at clearing infection as well as protecting the tooth from subsequent infections.
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue (the nerve of the tooth) and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result, and an abscess may form. This injures your jawbones, and is also detrimental to your overall health. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
Infected teeth are not always painful, however there are some signs a tooth may need root canal treatment:
- Severe or spontaneous toothache
- Pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
- Dark discoloration of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
What happens during treatment?
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During these visits the affected tissue and infection is removed. Next the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental restoration. If your tooth had extensive decay, the tooth may require a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.
Most teeth can be saved unless they have one of the following conditions:
- Roots are severely fractured
- The tooth does not have adequate bone support
- The tooth cannot be restored due to lack of remaining tooth structure
- Root canals are inaccessible