The goal of modern dentistry is to maintain and restore the natural teeth whenever possible, avoiding the cascade of dental problems associated with lost teeth. Truckee dentist Dr. Jason Baldwin performs root canals to preserve a natural tooth that has become infected or severely damaged and is considered dead.
Why Do I Need A Root Canal?
Root canal therapy is necessary when the inner portion of the tooth (the pulp) becomes damaged or infected. To reach this part of your tooth, the enamel and dentin outer layers of your tooth will be compromised or breeched in some way. This is most commonly caused by tooth decay (a cavity) that has been left untreated. When a cavity is not treated, it will begin to erode these layers and will eventually make its way inside the tooth. This will create a gateway for bacteria to get to the pulp and cause an infection. Another way for the pulp to become infected is when the tooth is damaged. Cracks or breaks in the tooth, caused by a hard impact, teeth grinding, or jaw misalignment can also lead to the pulp becoming infected.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
Damage to the pulp can cause many painful symptoms. Tooth pain is usually the first sign a patient may experience, though a dentist can often spot infection during routine examinations. Signs you may need a root canal can include:
- Increased or new sensitivity in the affected tooth
- Tooth pain that is sudden and acute
- Changes in the color of the tooth
- Pimple like growth along the gum line
Seeking prompt treatment for a possible tooth infection is important for the health of your teeth- and your overall health. Untreated infection can enter the bloodstream and put you at great risk for life threatening illness. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of an infected tooth, contact our office right away for an appointment.
Root Canals: What To Expect
The root canal process has been significantly improved as a result of better technique, tools and materials, causing no more discomfort than a typical dental filling. A common misconception is that a root canal procedure is very painful when really the pain is from the infection itself. Most people report a sense of relief once the treatment is over and the infected tissue is removed.
The first step of the treatment is to numb the area around the tooth with the use of a local anesthetic. This will be administered by an injection into your gums near the infected tooth. You will feel a pinch and maybe a burning sensation that quickly passes.
Once you are numb, Dr. Baldwin will create a tiny hole in the back of the tooth. This is how he will gain access to the infected tissue. He will gently remove the decayed tissue from the center of the tooth using special dental tools. The last step is to disinfect, fill and seal the inside of the tooth.
Dr. Baldwin may recommend the use of a dental crown after your root canal to strengthen the tooth, prevent future damage and ensure a lasting result.