A root canal, also known as endodontic therapy, is a dental treatment that a dentist administers to a patient in order to repair a tooth that is severely infected or damaged, especially in the pulp or soft core of the tooth. Infected pulp is a result of a deep cavity, a cracked or broken tooth, or excessive trauma. At Arden Park Dental Care, Dr. Shahnaz Formoli is one of the most experienced professionals in root canals Sacramento has to offer. She makes use of this treatment to examine, identify the cause of and effectively treat any damage that may have occurred to your dental pulp. Previously, a tooth with an injured or infected pulp had to almost always be removed to prevent any further damage. However, with advancements in the field of dental science, root canal treatment has been developed so dentists can save teeth without having to remove them.
When is root canal treatment needed?
To understand what a root canal treatment is and how it helps, it is important to understand your dental structure. The dental pulp is the soft tissue within your tooth, containing nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. It spreads all the way to the tip of the root in the jawbone. If it is injured or damaged to the extent that it cannot fix itself, it dies. If you do not treat it, it gets infected, and pus accumulates at the tip of the root in your jawbone. This pus build-up, known as an abscess, can severely damage the bone. Failure to remove this infected pulp will lead to swelling and pain. Moreover, the jawbone can be affected as well. If you do not go in for a root canal treatment, your entire tooth may have to be removed.
What is the procedure like?
Should you be in need of root canal therapy, several visits will be required to complete the treatment. It mainly consists of three steps, which are outlined below:
1. Root canal cleaning
For the first step, Dr. Formoli will give you local anesthesia, and drill a tiny hole on the surface of your tooth to access the inside. This allows her to remove the pulp tissue using tiny files.
2. Root canal filling
Secondly, Dr. Formoli will decontaminate and shape the hollow area. Then, she will fill the hole with a rubber-like material, and tightly seal the canals using an oral adhesive. After the treatment, it is to be noted that that particular tooth is dead. You will not feel anything there anymore since the nerve tissues are removed.
3. Adding a filling or a crown
Since the pulp provides nourishment to the tooth, root canal treatment means that the tooth is much more fragile. The ligament attaching your tooth to the bone will have to nourish the tooth. Despite this nourishment, the tooth will become weak and fragile in time, so a filling or a crown must be added for protection.
What can I expect after treatment?
After treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This sensitivity or discomfort usually can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen. Most patients are able to return to their normal activities the next day.
Until the permanent filling or crown has been placed, it is wise to minimize chewing on the tooth under repair. This step will help avoid recontamination of the interior of the tooth and also may prevent a fragile tooth from breaking before the tooth can be fully restored.
Regular brushing, flossing, and use of an antiseptic mouthwash, accompanied by regularly scheduled visits to the dentist will help make your root canal treatment highly successful. Root canal treatment, when properly carried out, can result in treated teeth lasting a lifetime. As the final step of the root canal procedure is application of a restoration such as a crown or a filling, it will not be obvious to others that a root canal was performed.