Endodontics (Root Canal)
The Crystal Lake Dental team has the experience and credentials you should look for when considering a new dentist for your root canal treatment.
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Root Canal Therapy
Sometimes, the only solution for a painful infection is via root canal treatment. It may sound frightening, but root canals can actually provide significant long-term benefit. The root canal procedure is the last option for saving a tooth before extraction. That being said, all dentists will advise their patients to consider this treatment before removing a tooth.
Root canals are the only treatment option for teeth having long-standing decay. When a cavity hasn’t been treated in time, the infection simply keeps progressing until it’s affected the inner soft tissue of the tooth. called dental pulp. The pulp keeps the tooth alive and houses the nerves, so when decay infects this tissue, it causes pain in the form of the famous and dreaded toothache. Over the long term, this infection can also reach the tip of a tooth’s root. This can cause an abscess to develop on the side of the gums.
Video 01:00 If you have an abscessed tooth, that means the pulp of tooth is infected and you need root canal therapy.
What is a root canal?
A root canal, also known as root canal therapy or endodontic treatment, is a procedure that eliminates infected dental pulp inside the tooth, and then replaces this removed tissue with a biocompatible filling material called gutta-pucha.
Click to enlarge. Illustration showing an example of a root canal procedure.
The pulp is a soft tissue that can be found at the very center of the tooth. It extends down to the tip of every tooth root. The pulp is housed in a central chamber within the tooth, and a few canals run down each root, giving the process its “root canal” name. Removing the pulp renders the tooth basically dead; it has no more sensitivity. Therefore, it can’t hurt any more.
At the start of this procedure, the dentist has to create an opening on top of the tooth. This opening is called an “access hole”. It’s through this hole that the inner chamber of the tooth can be reached. The dentist uses special instruments to remove infected pulp from its chamber and canals. Once the tissue is removed, the chamber and canals are then cleaned and filled, and the access hole sealed. In several cases, the tooth will require a dental crown in order to be fully restored.
What’s the alternative to a root canal?
The only alternative to a root canal is to remove the tooth. As mentioned previously, root canal treatment is typically the last option to save a tooth that’s been severely damaged. Having said so, patients need to be aware that a root canal needs to be performed as soon as the dentist recommends it. If this doesn’t occur, the infection can spread to surrounding bone, leaving no option but to extract the tooth.
We advise all of our patients to invest their time and money into saving a tooth with the root canal procedure. It is less complex and more affordable than losing a tooth and having to replace it with an implant or dental bridge.
Should I get a root canal?
Having a root canal procedure done on a severely damaged tooth is always recommended, because no tooth replacement alternative can match the benefits of natural teeth.
If you have a tooth that’s been badly affected by decay, our dentist will examine it to determine whether or not you’re a suitable candidate for the root canal procedure. You will have to undergo a clinical exam and get x-rays so that the dentist can evaluate the vitality of your tooth and the health of the surrounding tissues. Should you choose not to have a root canal done, you will likely have to get the affected tooth removed.
Parts of the Tooth
Video 01:00 | Have you ever wondered what makes up a tooth? The two main parts of the tooth are the crown and the root. The crown is the white part of the tooth you can see while the root is unseen below the gumline. Learn more about the various parts of a tooth and how good oral health care as well as regular dental visits, can help to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.