Genetics, inadequate oral hygiene, and poor diet can expose the nerves within your teeth to trauma or decay. Occasionally, the pulp of the tooth—the soft tissue inside of the root that contains nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels—can become inflamed. When left untreated, this infection can turn into an abscess, which may require an extraction or lead to the spread of bacteria into other parts of the body. Root canal treatment prevents this and preserves the natural tooth. This treatment may be required if you have a chipped or cracked tooth, experience severe pain when chewing, have lingering sensitivity to hot or cold, have swollen or tender gums, or have pimples on the gums.
Benefits of Root Canal Treatment
- Saves the natural tooth
- Maintains your smile
- Requires less pain than an extraction
- Is more cost-effective than a bridge, implant, or denture
- Limits the need for additional dental work
A root canal is a straightforward treatment that saves your natural tooth from extraction. To begin, X-rays are taken, and the affected tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic. A dental dam is placed around the tooth to keep it dry. Dr. Chung will make an opening in the crown of the tooth and proceed to clean and remove the infected or inflamed pulp with small surgical tools. Once the tooth is cleaned, and the canals are shaped, the opening is filled with a rubber-like material. Since the tooth is no longer “living,” it can become weak over time. To prevent this, a permanent crown is placed to avoid fracture and extend the life of the tooth.
You may experience some sensitivity following your root canal, especially if there was an infection or pain before. Any of this discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter or prescribed pain medication. Root canals can help preserve the natural tooth, and the crown will look and function like a natural tooth as well. There is no limitation to your diet; however, you should be cautious of hard and sticky foods for a time. With proper care and good oral hygiene, a tooth with a root canal can last a lifetime.