What You Should Know About Root Canal Treatment

Posted on: 11 March 2016


You can get an infection in just about any part of your body, and your teeth are no exception. When you do have a tooth infection, it may or may not cause pain, but either way, it needs to be treated before it spreads or worsens. If you are unsure about root canal treatment, check out these five facts, so you know a bit more about the process.

The Procedure Isn't Painful

Root canal therapy is often considered a painful experience, but that isn't true. The pain associated with root canal treatment is from the abscess that puts pressure on the tooth nerves. This can cause excruciating, unbearable and unrelenting pain. Root canal treatment removes this abscess and the pain. During the procedure, the treated area is numbed with a localized anesthetic, so you feel nothing as the dentist works. After the procedure, tenderness is common. Your dentist may prescribe pain medications or suggest the use of over-the-counter pain medications to help manage the discomfort.

Root Canal Therapy Saves the Tooth

The best reason to choose root canal therapy is because it saves the tooth. During root canal treatment, the dentist removes the pulp from the tooth. The pulp is what contains all the nerves and blood vessels. It is then replaced with a substance called gutta percha. What's great about root canal therapy, however, is that even without nerves and blood vessels, your tooth can survive. As long as the root canal is successful, you won't need an extraction or further treatment. If you choose to forgo root canal therapy, your only other option to treat the infection is extraction. If you do have an extraction, you'll also need a partial denture, dental bridge or dental implant to maintain your smile.

Root Canal Therapy Has a High Success Rate

Root canal therapy has a success rate of about 92 to 97 percent, so once your tooth is treated, you should be fine. However, although uncommon, there are many reasons why a root canal may fail. One of the biggest reasons a root canal can fail is that a crown wasn't placed soon after treatment, which allowed the tooth to become weak. Another reason is that the dentist missed one of the root canals, so some of the pulp and possibly infection remained. Another common reason is the tooth becomes re-infected due to crack or broken seal.

A Tooth Can Sometimes Be Retreated

If the root canal treatment does fail, you may not need an extraction. In some cases, the dentist can retreat the tooth. During a re-treatment, the dentist will remove the gutta percha from the entire tooth and correct the problem. For example, if a root canal was missed during the first procedure, the dentist will now treat that canal. If there is any infection, that is treated, and the dentist places new gutta percha into the tooth canals. If you already have a healthy crown from the previous procedure, the dentist may be able to simply drill through the crown to reach the pulp and then place a filling on the crown.

You May Need Endodontic Surgery  

In some cases, the first or second root canal treatment may have failed for a more serious complication. Endodontic surgery may be necessary if you have small fractures on the tooth roots, hidden canals, calcium deposits in the root canals or damaged root surfaces. There are several different types of endodontic surgeries, but one of the most common is an apicoectomy, which treats problems at the tip of the tooth roots. During the procedure, the dentist makes an incision in your gums and lifts it away from the tooth to expose the root. The area is cleaned and sealed before the gum is replaced.

You shouldn't fear root canal therapy. It is designed to relieve your pain, not cause pain, and it prevents the need for tooth extraction. If you believe you have a tooth infection, contact your dentist today to schedule a visit. 

For more information, visit websites like http://www.jpdentalgroup.com.