When a tooth is hurting, the immediate thought is that the tooth needs to be pulled. This is not always necessary. Often times the pain can be treated with a procedure known as a root canal in order to remove the source of pain, the nerve, from the tooth and allow you to keep the tooth. This procedure is usually indicated to relieve your tooth from already existing pain or to treat a tooth with a large cavity that goes into the nerve, but isn’t hurting at the present moment or a root canal may be indicated when there is not enough tooth structure remaining to hold a filling or a crown.
Most root canal treatments can be completed right here in our office in a single visit. Typical root canal appointments last anywhere from 1 hour to 1 and a half hours and are necessary when the nerve and blood vessels become inflamed, diseased, or infected. During a root canal treatment, the diseased tissue is removed and the inside of the tooth/canal is cleaned and sealed. If a diseased tooth is not treated and left alone the infected pulp can lead to pain and swelling and possibly to the need to remove your tooth.
Common causes of an infected nerve include:
- a deep cavity
- periodontal infection
- repeated dental procedures
- a cracked or broken tooth
- injury to the tooth (even if there’s not a visible crack or chip)
Once the nerve and blood vessels of a tooth it can become very brittle and is at a high risk for fracture from normal everyday functioning. Therefore, once a tooth has been saved by a root canal procedure the tooth needs a final restoration often including the need for a crown for protection. As with all other dental treatment, just because a tooth has had a root canal does not mean it never has to be cared for again. That is why we encourage all of our patients to continue to care for their teeth and gums with regular checkups and yearly x-rays.
If you have any questions about root canals, don’t hesitate to contact us today at (859) 987-5550.