Endodontics is a special branch of dentistry that deals the diagnosis and treatment of the dental pulp. It involves diagnosing the infection, finding the cause of it, neutralizing the factors influencing the infection, conducting a root canal therapy and, if necessary, applying a restoration on the tooth to prevent its failure.
Every tooth has a root canal cavity that houses the nerves, blood vessels, and pulp that is responsible for the sensation of the tooth and provides it with nutrition. But when the pulp gets infected, it can cause severe pain and other complications to the teeth and surrounding gums. If left untreated, the infection can intensify so much that the tooth would have to be removed entirely. A root canal therapy is the last resort treatment procedure to save a badly infected tooth.
How is a root canal infection caused?
- External injury: An injury to the mouth could cause a tooth to fracture, exposing the pulp to microbes in the mouth.
- Tooth decay: A cavity caused by the decay of the enamel can advance deeper into the tooth, thereby affecting the pulp in the root canal cavity.
- Failed restorations: When there is a large restoration, such as a crown, filling or an onlay, there may be small gaps between it and the tooth where microbes could enter. Over time, they can erode the tooth and infect the pulp.
- A release of pus from the tooth and surrounding gums.
- Severe pain in the tooth, especially while chewing food and brushing.
- Tenderness in the gums.
- Loosening of the tooth from its socket.
- Pain and limited movement in the jaw.
How is a root canal therapy done?
The dentist would examine the tooth and the gums to determine the severity of the condition. The teeth will be thoroughly cleaned and any debris or food particles that are stuck in between the teeth will be removed. Local anesthesia will be administered so that the patient wouldn’t feel any discomfort or pain during the procedure.
A small hole will be made on the tooth to access the root canal cavity. The dentist would use high precision equipment for this. Dental files of various sizes will be inserted into the hole one after the other to remove the infected pulp. Once all the blood vessels and nerves are removed, the walls of the cavity will be scrubbed to get rid of any adhered microbes. A water jet will be used to rinse away any remaining particles in the cavity.
After the procedure is complete, the dentist would place a small amount of medication in the tooth before sealing it off with a filling material. This ensures that the tooth isn’t re-infected in the future. Since the nerves and blood vessels are removed, the tooth would lose its sensitivity and nourishment, making it weak. Hence, a restoration (crown) may be placed over the tooth to strengthen it and prevent failure.
Schedule an appointment or call us at (415) 921-5555 to learn more about root canal therapy in Daly City or San Francisco!