The term “root canal” refers to both the interior portion of your tooth roots and to the restorative dental treatment dentists use to save ailing teeth. Also called endodontic therapy, a root canal is undeservedly one of the most feared dental procedures, but in reality, it is safe, comfortable, and reliable.
During a typical endodontic treatment, Dr. Bennett accesses the root canals with a high-speed drill and uses tiny metal files to clean out the diseased pulp. Typically, interior pulp becomes inflamed or infected when a tooth is cracked, deeply decayed or is infiltrated with bacteria through a failed filling or crown.
After the canals are disinfected and sealed, Dr Bennett puts rubbery gutta-percha in the tooth and covers it with a temporary crown or filling. After a period of healing (ten to fourteen days), the dentist removes the temporary restoration and replaces it with a custom-made in our local lab porcelain crown.
Do you need a root canal?
Only your dentist can tell you after she has examined your tooth and X-rayed it to understand its condition. Typical signs that you need this procedure are:
- You have a severe toothache and/or a swollen jaw.
- Your tooth hurts when you bite down on it.
- You are missing a substantial amount of tooth structure.
- Your tooth is sensitive to heat or cold.
- Your tooth is discolored.
- There is a sore, red pimple on the gum tissue by your tooth.
After your procedure…
You’ll find that you recover very quickly because the source of your pain and infection has been treated. With good at-home and in-office hygiene (and check-ups), you and your restored tooth should do just fine. Many teeth preserved by root canal treatments last for decades. That’s much better than a tooth extraction, isn’t it?