In the past, teeth with diseased nerves have been removed from the mouth. However, through a root canal, most of the diseased tooth can be salvaged. In most cases, the root canal procedure is a simple treatment that involves little to no patient discomfort.
Within the walls of each tooth, a strand of dental pulp – the substance that supplies the tooth with nerves, nutrients, connective tissue and blood vessels – laces downward into the root. If the dental pulp becomes diseased, the pulp dies, cutting off the nutrients and nerve signals which the tooth needs to be healthy. If the diseased pulp is left in the tooth, the tooth will become infected, forcing it to need extraction.
Root canals allow the dentist to remove the pulp, clean the canal and seal the tooth, effectively protecting and saving the tooth. After an opening is created through the crown of the tooth into the dental pulp chamber, the pulp is removed. The canal is cleaned out, and the pulp chamber is permanently filled. The dentist will proceed by putting in a temporary filling. Afterwards, the temporary filling will be replaced with a permanent filling or a crown, depending on the location of the tooth within the mouth. An endodontist or root canal dentist can help you with you problems. Call us today to schedule your appointment.
With proper care, most teeth that have had endodontic (root canal) treatment can last as long as other natural teeth. In some cases, however, a tooth that has received endodontic treatment fails to heal or the pain continues. Occasionally the tooth becomes painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. If your tooth has failed to heal or has developed new problems, you have a second chance. Another endodontic procedure may be able to save your tooth.
Surgery can help save your tooth in a variety of situations.
- Surgery may be used in diagnosis. If you have persistent symptoms but no problems appear on your x-ray, your tooth may have a tiny fracture or canal that could not be detected during non-surgical treatment. In such a case, surgery allows your endodontist to examine the root of your tooth, find the problem, and provide treatment.
- Sometimes calcium deposits make a canal too narrow for the cleaning and shaping instruments used in non-surgical root canal treatment to reach the end of the root. If your tooth has this "calcification," your endodontist may perform surgery to clean and seal the reimagesder of the canal.
- Usually, a tooth that has undergone a root canal can last the rest of your life, and never need further endodontic treatment. However, in a few cases, a tooth may fail to heal. The tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. If this is true for you, surgery may help save your tooth.
- Surgery may also be performed to treat damaged root surfaces or surrounding bone.
To understand why a cracked tooth hurts, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is the inner soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue.
When the outer hard tissues of the tooth are cracked, the chewing can cause movement of the pieces, and the pulp can become irritated. When biting pressure is released, the crack can close quickly, resulting in a momentary, sharp pain. Irritation of the dental pulp can be repeated many times by chewing. Eventually, the pulp will become damaged to the point that it can no longer heal itself. The tooth will not only hurt when chewing but may also become sensitive to temperature extremes. In time, a cracked tooth may begin to hurt all by itself. Extensive cracks can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gum tissue surrounding the tooth.
Injuries to the mouth can cause teeth to be pushed back into their sockets. Your endodontist or general dentist may reposition and stabilize your tooth. Root canal treatment is usually started within a few weeks of the injury and a medication, such as calcium hydroxide, maybe placed inside the tooth. Eventually, a permanent root canal filling will be required.
Sometimes a tooth may be pushed partially out of the socket. Again, your endodontist or general dentist may reposition and stabilize your tooth. If the pulp remains healthy, then no other treatment may be necessary. Yet, if the pulp becomes damaged or infected, root canal treatment may be required.