Root Canal Therapy
Did you know that your tooth is a living organ? Often, people are surprised to learn this fascinating bit of information. Because your dental enamel is the hardest material in your body, many people think that their teeth are these inert, hard objects in their mouths. That could not be further from the truth!
However, because your tooth is alive, that means that it can also become in danger of dying. This can occur due to severe infection, advanced tooth decay, or even because of trauma or injury to the tooth. Before that happens, though, we here at Rogue Valley Dental Center will try to save this tooth from extraction through a procedure known as root canal therapy.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
There are three layers to your tooth. The outermost layer is called the enamel. This layer works to protect the more vulnerable, inner layers from decay. Directly below the enamel is the dentin, and at the center of your tooth is the pulp. If bacteria can penetrate the enamel, they can work their way into the pulp, leading to a serious infection.
Your dental pulp is made up of blood vessels and nerves. If the infection reaches these nerves and blood vessels, it can kill them. Once your tooth is no longer alive, it is at greater risk of becoming lost. To help prevent this loss of your tooth, we may advise root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is a procedure that focuses on removing an infection from the tooth to help save it and prevent it from requiring extraction.
What Happens During a Root Canal Procedure?
During root canal therapy, we will start by isolating the tooth. We will then place a dental dam over the affected tooth to help protect it from water and debris during the procedure. Next, we will introduce a local anesthetic (typically lidocaine) to numb the procedure site. Some patients, especially if they are nervous about the procedure, may benefit from laughing gas (nitrous oxide) to help them relax.
Once the patient is comfortable and the site is ready for root canal therapy, we will then use a drill to expose the tooth root. We will then carefully remove all infected material from the site. Then, we will file the tooth and shape it to help accommodate the filling. In some cases, antibiotics may be needed and applied at this stage. We will then take impressions, which will be used to create your permanent crown. We will then place a material called gutta-percha at the site and cover it with a temporary filling.
When your final, permanent crown returns from our lab, we will have you return for a final fitting. We will remove the temporary filling and place your crown. We will then check to ensure that it is a good fit and is comfortable for you. If we are both satisfied, then the procedure will be complete.
The mere thought of a root canal can make people understandably quite anxious. We understand how stressful this can be for you, which is why we may spread your procedure over multiple appointments, particularly if your tooth is severely infected or needs extra care. Generally, however, it does take a minimum of two appointments.
If you would like to learn more about root canal therapy, or you would like to schedule an appointment with us here at Rogue Valley Dental Center, please give us a call at (541) 779-4517 today.