Root Canals: Everything You Need to Know
When most people think of root canals, they cringe. Images of pain and torture come to mind, making it one of the most feared dental procedures. But what many people don't know is that a root canal is not as bad as it sounds. It's a relatively simple procedure that can save your teeth from being extracted.
Ensuring that you have the function of your natural teeth is an important part of modern dentistry. Keeping a patient's natural tooth in place is the ideal outcome of every visit or procedure in almost every case.
When we come across a particularly infected or damaged tooth, we will do everything to save it. Sometimes that means undergoing a procedure commonly referred to as root canal therapy, which helps fix teeth that might otherwise need to be extracted and replaced. At The Center for Implant and General Dentistry in Lindale, TX., we have the experience and knowledge necessary to ensure that your root canal goes smoothly and according to plan.
What is a root canal?
A root canal, also known as root canal therapy, is a dental process that salvages an infected or damaged tooth. For example, if you have an infected tooth, it might need to remove its pulp and roots to stop the infection and save the tooth.
A root canal is performed to clear out the infection and decay when that happens. The cavity left behind by clearing out the inside of your tooth is filled with various materials meant to help support your tooth and prevent decay from returning. Root canals are often the last effort available to save damaged teeth.
Why perform a root canal?
Root canal therapy is performed to fix the inside of a tooth that has become infected or damaged. Because teeth are very strong, they can last years with just their enamel protecting them from outside bacteria and viruses. However, when the root canal becomes compromised due to decay or infection, you start to lose your natural tooth function.
When the pulp becomes infected, it's not always necessary to remove your tooth immediately. If the decay is small enough, we may clean out the cavity and fix any yellowing or darkening of the enamel.
We would only recommend extraction if it becomes clear that you're in danger of losing your tooth altogether because of how eroded or deteriorated it is. Your best bet at the end of the day is to undergo a root canal if you can, as it's an effortless procedure that will save your tooth.
Who are good candidates for a root canal?
A good candidate for root canal therapy has healthy gums and no increased risk factors for the procedure.
As long as your teeth are not currently in pain, you can be a good candidate for root canal therapy, provided that you have healthy gums with no increased risk factors for the procedure.
The best candidates are those with small or minor cavities which need to save their tooth due to an infection inside it.
How is a root canal performed?
There are four main steps to root canal therapy, though every case is different.
What is the root canal procedure like?
Hearing the term "root canal" is enough to frighten many patients immediately. However, it is important to understand what is done during the process. While many people think it will be a particularly painful one, you should keep in mind that the entire area is numbed – you won't feel any discomfort at all. Additionally, the root canal process is very similar to filling a cavity. A root canal essentially clears out decay (just as you would a cavity) and then fills the resulting space again (just as you would a cavity). Because the processes are so similar, it might help think of a root canal as an intense cavity filling.
You can expect the area of the tooth in question to be completed numbed before the procedure begins. We will then begin the process, and it shouldn't be an overly long one. The recovery period for a root canal is about the same as filling a cavity. Note that root canals help relieve pain, not cause it. They clear out the infection so that you can heal.
What happens after the Root Canal?
Since root canal is a restorative procedure, we must ensure your tooth remains stable. We can do this by applying a crown over the tooth, which entirely fits your bite and protects the root from damage.
Crowns aren't just for aesthetics – they help prevent further decay and promote long-term healing. If you're wondering how long the root canal results will last, you can rest easy knowing that the dental work done on root canal teeth is just as durable as that of regular teeth.
Finally, it's essential to remember that root canal therapy may need to be repeated if your tooth becomes damaged again.
How successful are root canals?
It is important to remember that a root canal is a last-ditch effort to save a tooth. They are not always successful. However, the procedure has around a 95% success rating. It is a highly successful procedure, in other words, and it is more likely than not to be a success and help you keep your tooth for a lifetime.
For more information about root canals, please give us a call at (903) 231-6605 today!
Chubb, David Wayne Ronald. "A review of the prognostic value of irrigation on root canal treatment success." Australian Endodontic Journal 45.1 (2019): 5-11. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/aej.12348
Prada, Ilaria, et al. "Update of the therapeutic planning of irrigation and intracanal medication in root canal treatment. A literature review." Journal of clinical and experimental dentistry 11.2 (2019): e185. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6383907/
Chatzopoulos, Georgios S., et al. "Implant and root canal treatment: Survival rates and factors associated with treatment outcome." Journal of dentistry 71 (2018): 61-66. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S030057121830037X
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