ROOT CANAL INFECTION TREATMENT
Root Canal Treatment - Greenpoint & Williamsburg
Root canal treatment is usually needed if a patient is looking to save their tooth and doesn't want to have it extracted and replaced with a dental implant.
When the nerve and tissue surrounding a tooth becomes infected, you may experience an abscess or swelling and tenderness around the infected tooth. A root canal treatment, such as in Greenpoint, means removing the infected pulp and nerve at the root of the tooth, and then cleaning and shaping inside the root canals, and finally filling and sealing the space created (using a dental material called gutta percha). The inside of a tooth is filled with canals and nerves. After this step, a filling or restoration (putting a crown on the tooth) helps restore strength and functionality to the tooth. However, if the tooth is removed it leaves a space which can cause problems for neighboring teeth and opposing teeth. To avoid this problem, the dentist may advise the patient to get a dental implant. They may even recommend a removable partial denture or a bridge. Normally these are not covered by health insurance.
Root canals treatments performed at Brooklyn City Dental can last five to ten years or even a lifetime. Occasionally the patient's tooth may become re-infected and will have to be retreated. Possible signs that you may need a root canal include an abscess on the gums or a pimple. Or, there may be excessive swelling or tenderness around the tooth.
Reasons for Root Canal Therapy
The main reason that a patient would receive root canal therapy is due to excessive decay within a tooth. Once the decay inside the tooth reaches the pulp – which is the living tissue inside the tooth, it will cause inflammation and infection of the pulp and the nerve tissue. This leads to the patient having a dental abscess at the root tip. A second reason that the patient's tooth may become infected is due to trauma to the pulp or near the pulp. Third reason for a root canal therapy is if the patient's tooth becomes symptomatic and painful.
What Happens During a Root Canal Treatment
Root canal procedures are really nothing to worry about despite what you may have heard. A common myth is that root canals cause pain. They don’t actually cause pain they relieve pain.
The space inside the tooth is known as the pulp chamber. This is where the root canal system and the pulp exists which is the vital tissue that keeps the tooth alive. Inside the pulp exist the connective tissues, the nerves and the blood vessels.
Root canal treatment is also known as endodontic treatment, and is needed when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. This can happen for many reasons but could happen due to repeated dental procedures on a tooth or possible traumatic damage such as a crack or a fracture on the root. Gum disease can also cause root canals to become infected and require root canal treatment.
Any one of the above can cause acute inflammation of the pulp which can cause swelling inside the tooth and a buildup of pressure, leading to tooth pain and eventually irreversible damage to the patient's pulp. Once the pulp inside the tooth dies, the pain dissipates; however it can return quickly spreading infection to the jawbone.
In most cases root canals will be dealt with at Dr Ben’s office. In extreme cases you will be referred to an endodontist.
Step By Step Procedure
Initially, the dentist will remove the decay and the source of infection. Firstly the dentist must determine whether the patient's lost tooth structure can be restored. If a tooth fracture has reached the pulp or the cause of the infection is gum disease then it may be more difficult to save the tooth.
During the root canal procedure the following steps will be taken.
The dentist will apply local anesthesia via injections to numb the infected tooth and the surrounding tissues. If the pulp is inflamed it could be painful and may take longer to numb.
A dental dam is placed on the infected tooth in order to isolate if from the rest of the mouth. This is composed of a thin sheet of rubber or vinyl and is placed over the affected and adjacent teeth. The tooth that is being treated protrudes through the hole punched into the dental dam and this allows the root canal treatment to be carried out in a sterile environment, where no bacteria from the mouth or saliva can re-infect the area.
The dentist will drill a small access hole through the surface (biting) of the infected tooth from or behind a front tooth. This will allow them access to the pulp chamber and root canals for treatment.
The dead pulp tissue has to be removed from the tooth using specially designed tools that can clean out the root canals and the pulp chamber. This is not a painful process for the patient. The area is numbed beforehand and connective tissue is either already dead or dying.
The dentist will use special materials to disinfect the canals and clean them using anti-bacterial solutions.
The dentist will reshape the canals using tiny flexible instruments that will allow them to put root canal fillings in the tooth and then seal it.
The dentist uses the rubber-like material called gutta percha to fill the canal space. As the material is thermoplastic, the dentist will heat the material and compress it against the walls of the root canals to seal them. They will then use an adhesive cement called a sealer and the gutta percha to fill the canal space. It is important to reseal the canals to prevent them from becoming re-infected with bacteria.
They will then remove the dental dam. If the tooth structure is weak, the dentist will place a dental implant inside the tooth to stabilize it and keep the tooth in position.
After the root canal treatment, the dentist may prescribe an antibiotic to treat or prevent infection. It is important that the patient follow their dentist's instructions carefully. There are minimal after-effects to a root canal treatment, which may include slight soreness. This can be alleviated using aspirin or prescription medication.
Once the root canal has been performed the tooth will need a permanent restoration – either a filling or a crown if the structure of the tooth has been damaged and needs to be replaced