Our blog topic for the day is root canals and our goal is to debunk some misbeliefs that have commonly been associated with endodontics, which is the dental specialty concerned with the study and treatment of the dental pulp. In a study conducted by the American Association of Endodontists, over 70% of surveyed patients stated that they feared having a root canal. We are here today to help our patients better understand the root canal procedure so that some of their fears may be dispelled and that they can walk into the dental procedure with less anxiety. If you would like to learn more about the endodontic services that we offer, please feel free to explore our website. Additionally, if you would like to learn more about interesting topics in the field of dentistry, please consider reading our past blog posts. Here at Matthew Nawrocki General and Cosmetic Dentistry, we are committed to patient education and encourage you to ask any questions that you may have. Please feel free to contact us electronically at any time or call (904) 602-8396.
What are some Reasons that You May Need a Root Canal?
There are many reasons that a tooth may need a root canal. The goal of root canal treatment is to remove the infected pulp from a tooth and place a filling material in its place. The pulp is located in the middle of the tooth and supplies it with nerves and blood. If your dentist tells you that your tooth needs a root canal, it is usually because the pulp is dead, dying, or at risk of dying soon. A tooth with an infected pulp cannot survive for very long and is usually a source of pain. Some of the reasons that a tooth may have an infected pulp and may need a root canal are as follows:
Large cavity: If your tooth has a cavity and the decay reaches the pulp of the tooth, then that tooth will need a root canal. Your dentist may not be able to tell you that the tooth needs a root canal until after the filling procedure has been started.
Large filling: A tooth with a large filling may eventually require root canal treatment. The filling may break, fall out, or may have leaky margins, which could enable bacteria to enter the pulp of the tooth.
Abscess: A tooth with an abscess has an infection around the root of the tooth. This may cause severe pain. The infection may also be draining into the mouth and form a bump where it drains.
Trauma: Traumatic or impact injuries may cause a tooth to break, fracture, or become loose. Depending on the severity of the trauma, the tooth may need endodontic treatment to save it.
Erosion/Attrition: Sometimes, people grind their teeth to the point that one or some of their teeth may need a root canal. Additionally, high acid diets or history of acid reflux may cause significant amounts of tooth structure to be lost and lead to the need for root canal treatment.
There are many other reasons that a tooth may need a root canal, but these are the most common reasons.
What are the Steps of a Root Canal Treatment?
When a tooth gets a root canal, remember that the final goal is to remove the infected pulp from the center of the tooth. The steps of root canal treatment are as follows:
Anesthesia: The first step in a root canal treatment is achieving profound anesthesia. Your dentist will ensure that your tooth is completely numb before beginning any treatment.
Removal of infected tooth structure: If the reason for your root canal treatment is a large cavity or an abscess, your dentist will use a drill to remove the decayed portions of your tooth.
Pulpal debridement: After all infected tooth structure is removed, your dentist will remove the infected pulp from the tooth. This is completed with long files that insert into the root of your tooth. Your dentist will also place antibacterial medications into the root of the tooth to aid in the healing and disinfection process.
Fill the root: After the root has been cleaned internally, your dentist will fill the root with a filling material.
Restoration of the tooth: Finally, your dentist will place a final restoration on the tooth. This finally restoration may be a filling or it may be a crown. The type of final restoration depends on the amount of tooth that remains after the root canal procedure has been completed. Your dentist will speak with you about the various options for a final restoration for your tooth.
Throughout the procedure, your dentist may need to take multiple X-rays to ensure that they are cleaning the entire root and filling it appropriately. Your root canal procedure and final restoration may take more than one appointment. Please see the following video from the American Dental Association for more information about the treatment steps of an endodontic procedure.
What are the benefits of Root Canal Treatment vs. Other Treatment Options?
It is important to remember that retaining a tooth in the mouth is almost always more beneficial in the long term than extracting a tooth. There is nothing that can perfectly replace the feeling of a natural tooth. Endodontic treatment is an excellent way to save a tooth from needing to be extracted. Many teeth that have been treated endodontically can last a lifetime.
If you live in the Orange Park area or surrounding communities and you think that you may need a root canal, please contact us at any time electronically or call (904)602-8396. We are happy to walk you through the often-feared root canal procedure and will do all that we can to assure your comfort and provide quality treatment.