Dr. Becker offers root canal treatment to save a natural tooth that has been diseased or damaged, causing significant pain for the patient due to inflammation within the tooth. Although the term “root canal” often instills fear in many patients, the procedure is typically no more painful than a dental filling and Dr. Becker and his staff will ensure your comfort during your procedure.
Is there an alternative to root canal treatment?
You could have the whole tooth extracted, but it’s always better to try to save it — especially since root canal treatment is routine and has a very high success rate (over 90%).
Saving the tooth can prevent complex dental problems from occurring later on. This can include unwanted tooth migration or shifting, which can lead to difficulties in chewing; the need for bridgework or dental implants, which may be costly and complicated; and even the eventual loss of bone structure from the area of the missing tooth.
What is a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment — also called endodontics (“endo” – inside, “dont” – tooth) — is a set of specialized procedures designed to treat problems of the soft pulp (nerve) tissue inside the tooth. While some mistakenly think of it as an unusually painful treatment, in most cases the procedure is no more uncomfortable than getting a filling. It's actually one of the most effective ways of relieving certain types of tooth pain.
About the Root Canal Procedure
The root canal process generally begins the same way as a filling does. There usually isn't any greater discomfort, either. Dr. Becker will administer an anesthetic to numb the tooth and the surrounding area.
Next, he will make a small opening is made in the surface of the affected tooth to give access to the pulp chamber and root canals. The chamber and empty canals are then cleaned, disinfected, and prepared to receive a filling of inert, biocompatible material.
Finally, adhesive cement is used to seal the opening in the tooth, preventing future infection. The tooth is typically covered with a dental filling or a crown to provide additional protection and support.
Root Canal Retreatment
After a period of time, you may experience pain in the affected tooth again — or, even if you have no symptoms, x-rays may reveal that infection is still present near the tooth's roots. In that case, you may need root canal retreatment.
Recontamination of the root canals can occur in a number of ways:
- Narrow canals within the tooth may mean that some were not detected and treated during the original root canal, allowing infection to reoccur
- Advanced gum disease
- New tooth decay
- Ineffective dental crown placement
- Cracked tooth