The “Pulp” is contained in a sealed chamber usually in the center of the tooth that comprises the blood vessels and the nerves. The pulp provides the tooth with its means of nutrition and sensation. If the pulp becomes exposed, irritated, injured or diseased, most often the nerve and blood vessels will become infected and die. Death of the pulp means death of the tooth. Root canal treatment is necessary to keep the tooth.
Pulpal irritation may be caused by:
– Touching exposed cementum (root covering) with a toothbrush or finger nail
– Physical blow, tooth fracture (exposing the pulp), chipped or broken teeth
– Traumatic occlusion, bruxism, a high filling, biting a hard object.
– Severe sensitivity to hot and cold foods
– Galvanic shock (presence of different metals in the mouth)
– Tooth decay entering the pulp
– Abscess (inflamed or infected pulp)
– Recent treatment – repeated dental procedures on a tooth
*Mild discomfort generally subsides within a few days.
A root canal treatment can be completed in 1 to 3 appointments depending on the amount of infection, number of canals to treat, and the level of difficulty. When a root canal treatment is performed, it is a relatively simple procedure for the patient. The pulp is removed, the canals are cleaned, refilled and sealed to prevent bacterial invasion. A root canal treated tooth will become more brittle and may fracture from regular daily use. For this reason, the dentist often recommends a build-up (core), a post and a crown to strengthen this non-vital tooth.
If a tooth is infected it is important to address the infection immediately. Failure to do so can result in an abscess which causes damage to the supporting tissues and bone as well as the adjacent teeth in the arch. Infections can also travel through the body and become life threatening if not treated.
Our office offers the latest technology (ie. a dental microscope and piezo surgical unit) to perform root canal treatments and microscopic root surgeries.
Dr. Jennifer Hong, our endodontist, provides in-office specialist services for all difficult cases so you may receive your root canal treatment in a familiar atmosphere without the need to be referred elsewhere.
A root canal can save your tooth and your smile!