What Is a Root Canal?
There are more than 15 million root canals performed each year in the U.S., making it one of the most common dental procedures. This simple procedure can save your natural teeth and prevent unnecessary extractions and tooth replacements!
A root canal is a procedure used to treat severely decayed or infected teeth. The inside of a tooth contains a soft material called the pulp, a nerve that allows the tooth to feel sensations. If the exterior of a tooth becomes damaged to the point where the pulp is exposed, an infection may occur. Symptoms of a root canal infection include swelling of the gums and face, increased sensitivity to temperature, and severe toothache. If left untreated, the infection can result in abscesses and ultimately, tooth loss.
In order to save the structure of the tooth, your dentist will remove the pulp and clean the inside of your tooth. The only purpose of the nerve is to provide sensory experience, so its removal will not affect the normal function of your tooth. The cavity is then sealed with a filling in order to prevent further damage. If you are experiencing a severe toothache or sensitivity, call your dentist immediately for emergency treatment.
Why Do I Need a Root Canal?
Treatment is necessary when the pulp of the tooth becomes inflamed, infected, or dies. The pulp contains vital nerves and blood vessels that become infected when bacteria invade it. Bacteria and inflammation are often introduced through a cavity, fracture, or an injury. If an infection is left untreated, it can travel throughout the tooth and cause a painful abscess.
Infected Tooth Symptoms:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
- Pain with biting
- Throbbing or severe pain
- No symptoms
Advantages of Saving Your Tooth:
- Efficient chewing
- Normal biting force and sensations
- Natural appearance
- Protects other teeth from excessive wear or stain
Benefits of Having a Root Canal With an Endodontist
Your endodontist utilizes a dental microscope specific for root canal therapy that enables the procedure to be done in less time and with increased proficiency. Your endodontist’s microsurgical, advanced techniques and greater visibility of the root canal anatomy results in a more comfortable and predictable result.
Benefits of Root Canal Therapy With a Dental Microscope
With the latest microscope technology, your endodontist is able to complete cases that were once too complicated and required removal of the tooth!
- Diagnosis. The microscope is the preferred instrument to properly diagnosis a persistently painful tooth.
- Locating Hidden Canals. One of the most important uses for the microscope is locating hidden canals. Many times dental anatomy is not predictable because all patients are not the same! In a recent study, 50% of all molars, 30% of all premolars and 25% of anterior teeth have an extra canal! Although extra canals were once considered rare, it is a common occurrence with the microscope!
- Management of Calcified Canals. In the past, calcified root canals may have been considered unsalvageable and tooth removed. Today, the calcified canals are distinguished by the difference in color and texture. This allows your endodontist to detect and negotiate the canal much more easily.
- Perforation Repair. Perforation of the canal does occur from time to time no matter how carefully the procedure is performed. The microscope is absolutely essential to repair the canal.
- Retrieval of Broken Files. Occasionally a file may break in the tooth. If this happens in the coronal aspect of the tooth, the microscope is essential in guiding the doctors at Endodontic Associates of Illinois to retrieving the broken file.
- Final Examination of the Canal Preparation. A simple, yet very important aspect of root canal therapy is making sure the canal is completely cleaned. Under a microscope, this process is simplified due to the high magnification.