Many people have heard of root canal treatments and think that they're incredibly painful and unpleasant. That's actually a misconception. Yes, some discomfort is common during endodontic treatment, but the procedure is often necessary and helps save teeth from extraction.
When you visit with a skilled cosmetic dentist you'll be able to learn much more about endodontics and how treatment can benefit you. Right now, we'd like to go over the basics of root canal therapy so that you have a better understanding of what is involved.
The Structure of a Tooth
Beneath the outer enamel and dentin layer of the tooth, there is a hollow chamber. This chamber within a tooth is filled with a substance known as dental pulp, which contains nerve endings and blood vessels and leads into the root and jawbone. This dental pulp is essential for proper sensation in the tooth.
When you start to experience pain and sensitivity in a tooth, it's the dental pulp that causes this. Think of it as a warning system for tooth decay or other serious problems. Once these kinds of discomfort occur, that's when it's time to speak with a cosmetic dentist.
Infections of Dental Pulp
Infections of the dental pulp occur when the bacteria inside of the mouth comes into contact with the soft tissue. This can happen as a result of tooth decay or dental injury.
Why These Kinds of Infections are So Serious
Pulp infections within a tooth will result in severe pain and sensitivity. It can be very difficult to eat or chew even soft foods because of dental pulp infections. Left untreated, the infection can spread through the dental pulp to the gums and jawbone, resulting in tooth loss and many other serious health issues. That's why restorative dentistry is so important for ensuring proper dental health and overall well-being.
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy refers to a general dental care option that will address dental pulp infections. It's also known as endodontic treatment and endodontic surgery.
We mentioned pain at the outset, and we want to stress again that while there is discomfort involved in a root canal treatment, the procedure is performed with anesthetic and any post-treatment discomfort can be alleviated with pain medication.
The Root Canal Therapy Procedure
During root canal therapy, a dentist carefully accesses the interior pulp chamber of the tooth. The infected dental pulp is then completely removed and the hollow pulp chamber disinfected. Once that is complete, the chamber is filled with an inert material to ensure the structural integrity of the tooth. Dental crowns are then used to cap the tooth once the pulp chamber has been filled.
Preventing Root Canal Infections
The best way to prevent root canal infections is to practice good dental hygiene and safety. We recommend:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
- Flossing at least once a day (ideally after every meal)
- Visiting your dentist twice a year for regular checkups
- Wearing protective mouthpieces during full-contact sports and other activities