Grand Junction, CO
Many people today do not have a correct understanding of what a root canal procedure is, why they are needed, and how to prevent them. Many misconceptions about root canals have taken hold in public opinion because of that. So let's clear a few things up.
Why are Root Canals Necessary?
Root canals are meant as a remedy for tooth decay. When the decay exceeds the enamel and penetrates the dentin (the layer beneath the enamel), the affected tooth becomes infected or abscessed. If nothing is done, the decay will get to the pulp (the tooth's nerve structure). Once this happens, the inflammation caused by the decay is permanent, and the pulp will start dying.
Once the pulp starts dying, chemicals are let loose that can infect the root's tip, causing inflammation and pain. The toothache is often not noticeable until this stage. We must take action to prevent your condition from worsening.
What happens during a Root Canal Procedure?
When we perform a root canal, we anesthetize the tooth to ensure that the procedure is painless. We then proceed to remove the decay, infected and inflamed pulp, and any other nerve tissue from the tooth roots and prepared the tooth for the filling. The substance used for the filling is a rubbery material called gutta-percha that works as a sealant to block the root structure completely and stop oral fluids from making their way to the tooth and infecting its internal regions anew.
Once we seal up the nerve chamber and tooth roots, the tooth will remain greatly weakened. We will, therefore, need to build up the core and attach a crown to protect the remaining areas. The filling core and crown work together as a protective agent to shield the tooth from future damage and help it chew properly again.
If the extent of the decay is not too severe, we may not even need a crown. In such cases, all we'll need to do for the final restoration is a core buildup. A root canal procedure may take more than one dental visit, depending on how much damage the tooth has sustained.
The Recovery Period
After we finish the root canal and the final restoration, Dr. Gregory J. Gorman, DMD will likely schedule a follow-up appointment six months after the procedure to examine how the tooth and surrounding bone are healing. When a root canal is done properly, they have a success rate of over 95 percent and cost a lot less than extracting and replacing the affected tooth.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Root canals are performed to save your teeth and prevent them from sustaining future damage. However, it is much better to prevent tooth decay, which creates the need for root canals in the first place. If you are proactive in taking good care of your teeth by brushing and flossing twice a day and coming in for dental cleanings and exams twice a year, you can ward off decay and eliminate the need for a root canal.
For more information, please contact our office at (970) 812-3959.