A root canal is a common dental treatment aimed at saving a damaged or infected tooth. This treatment becomes necessary when the pulp, the innermost soft tissue of the tooth, becomes inflamed or infected. Despite the misconception that root canals are painful, modern dentistry has made significant advancements. Today, dentists can ensure that patients experience minimal discomfort during the process. Storts Family Dentistry can provide you with a root canal in Ardmore, Marietta, and Madill, OK if you are suffering from a severely damaged or decayed tooth.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal, also known as endodontic therapy, is a conservative dental procedure that dentists perform to repair and save a tooth that is damaged or infected. Inside each tooth, beneath the white enamel and a hard layer called dentin, lies a soft tissue called pulp. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues that help the tooth grow and develop. When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed due to deep decay, cracks, or trauma, a root canal is necessary to remove the damaged pulp and alleviate the pain.
Why are Root Canals Necessary?
Several factors can lead to the need for a root canal procedure:
- Tooth Decay: Tooth decay that is left untreated and reaches the inner tooth can cause infection and inflammation. A simple cavity can eventually eat away at your tooth to the point where it allows bacteria to enter the tooth and create an infection. In this case, a root canal will need to be done to remove the infected pulp.
- Trauma: Trauma to the mouth can lead to damage to the teeth. Teeth that are cracked or chipped due to an accident or injury can leave the pulp exposed. This makes the pulp more susceptible to infection.
- Repeated Dental Procedures: Teeth that have undergone multiple or repeated dental procedures, such as dental fillings or dental crowns, may develop inflammation in the pulp. The only treatment is a root canal to rid the tooth of the inflammation.
- Dental Abscess: Untreated tooth decay or an infection can lead to the formation of a dental abscess. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket at the root of the tooth. Root canal therapy is essential to treat the abscess and prevent its recurrence. A dental abscess is a dental emergency, as the infection can spread to other parts of the body.
- Sensitivity to Hot and Cold: Persistent sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, even after the stimuli are removed, can indicate pulp damage. Damage to the pulp means it needs to be removed with a root canal.
Does a Root Canal Hurt?
A common misunderstanding about root canals is that they are painful. In reality, a root canal will provide you with significant relief from the pain and discomfort. The pain most people are referring to is the pain caused by an infection or injury. Most patients will feel a sense of relief once the infection is removed and the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Additionally, before the procedure, your dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the affected tooth and the surrounding area. This will ensure that you will not feel any pain during the procedure.
Steps in a Root Canal Treatment in Southern Oklahoma
- The first step involves a thorough examination and X-rays to assess the extent of damage. This will help your dentist determine if a root canal is necessary. Your dentist will discuss the procedure, answer your questions, and address your concerns before proceeding.
- Before every root canal treatment, our dentist will administer local anesthesia. This is to make sure the patient’s tooth and surrounding area are numb. This will ensure that you are comfortable and pain-free during the procedure.
- Your dentist will need to isolate the affected tooth. They will use a rubber dam by placing it around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva during the procedure. This also prevents contamination of the tooth’s interior.
- Your dentist will drill a small opening in the crown of the tooth. This is necessary to access the pulp chamber and root canals.
- Once your dentist gains access to the inside of your tooth, they will remove the damaged and diseased pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals. Then they will clean and shape the canals to prepare them for filling.
- The cleaned and shaped canals are then filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha to seal the space and prevent future infections. The access opening is also sealed with a temporary or permanent filling.
- In most cases, a tooth that has undergone a root canal will need a dental crown. This restorative dentistry treatment will strengthen and protect the tooth, restoring its function and appearance.
A root canal treatment is a valuable treatment we use to help save our patients’ teeth. If you suspect you may need a root canal or have concerns about your dental health, contact Storts Family Dentistry. We can provide you with a root canal in Ardmore, Marietta, and Madill, OK if necessary. You can reach us at (580) 260-3410 or you can request an appointment online.