Root Canal Therapy

Natural teeth are meant to last a lifetime.  Even if one of your teeth becomes injured or diseased, it can often be saved through a specialized procedure known as root canal (endodontic) treatment.  Can my tooth be saved?

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment (endodontics) is one of the areas of dentistry that Dr. Richard Bailey focuses on.  Root canal treatment usually involves the removal of the tooth's pulp, a small threadlike tissue that was important for the tooth development.  Once removed, it is replaced with materials that seal off the root canal from its supporting structures.  Years ago, diseased or injured teeth were often extracted.  Today, even if the pulp of one of your teeth becomes injured or infected, it often can be saved through root canal treatment.  This is the area of dentistry concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases or injuries to the dental pulp.

What is dental pulp?

The pulp is the soft tissue that contains the blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue of a tooth.  It lies in a canal that runs through the center of the dentin- the hard tissue on the inside of the tooth that supports the outer layer of tooth enamel.  The crown (the portion of the tooth visible above the gums) contains the pulp chamber.  The pulp extends from this chamber down through the root canal of the tip of the root in the bone of the jaws.  Teeth have only one pulp chamber but may have more than one root and several root canals.

What happens if the pulp gets injured?

If the injured or diseased pulp is not removed, the tissues surrounding the root of the tooth can become infected, resulting in pain and swelling.  Even if there is no pain, certain substances released by bacteriacan damage the bone that anchors the tooth in the jaw.  Without treatment, the tooth may have to be removed.

Why coundn't you just remove the tooth?

There are many disadvantages to loosing a natural tooth.  When a tooth is removed and not replaced, the adjacent teeth may begin to shift from their normal position.  This may cause the teeth to become crooked or crowded, which decreases biting and chewing efficiency.  Crowded or crooked teeth may be more prone to gum disease because they are harder to keep clean than properly aligned teeth.  A replacement tooth (an implant or bridge) is usually more expensive than endodontic treatment and can involve more extensive dental procedures to adjacent teeth.  A natural tooth is normally better than an artificial tooth.

What does treatment involve?

Treatment usualy involves from one to three visits.  During treatment, Dr. Bailey removes the diseased pulp.  The pulp chamber and root canal(s) area then cleaned, shaped, filled and sealed off from the bone surrounding the root.  In case of considerable tooth structure loss, a metal or plastic rod or post may be placed in the root canal for support, and a crown is usually placed over the tooth.

What material will be used for the crown?

Crowns are made from a number of materials.  Gold allots or nonprecious alloys, porcelain or ceramic, acrylic or composite resin or combinations of these materials may be used.  The type of material used for the crown will depend on a number of factors including where the tooth is located in your mouth,  the color of the tooth and the amount of natural tooth remaining.  One of the things we will discuss with you is which options are best for your individual situation.

How long will my restored tooth last?

As long as the root(s) of the treated tooth is nourished by the tissues around it, your tooth can remain healthy.  However, the tooth could still become decayed, so good oral hygiene at home and regualr dental exams are necessary to help prevent both tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

Emergency Root Canal Treatments

Contact our office in the event that a emergency root canal is suspected.   Endodontics is one of the areas of dentistry that Dr. Richard Bailey focuses on.  Quick treatment can result in quick relief of discomfort and can protect the remaining tissue from furthar damage.

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