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Root Canals

Dental Health and Root Canals

In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you would probably lose that tooth. Today, at Innovative Family Dentistry there are two options available for you:

A root canal has been the traditional treatment of choice in the past. This treatment works well, although some problems can occur.

  1. The tooth can get recurrent decay which sometimes can cause failure
  2. The root canal will cause the tooth to be more brittle, and the tooth could fracture requiring the tooth to be extracted
  3. The tooth will darken over time.  A crown place over the tooth will impart strength to the tooth, and will prevent any darkening from occurring

Another option is to extract the tooth and place an implant.

  1. An implant will never get a cavity around it, and has much less chance for fracture
  2. Implants have been more researched than any other procedure in dentistry and have the highest long term success rate.

At Innovative Family Dentistry we offer both options to our patients, and will be happy to discuss what is best for you.

What is the purpose of a root canal?

A tooth's nerve is not vitally important to a tooth's health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory – to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.

When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but it is detrimental to your overall health. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.

What are the signs that a root canal is needed?

Teeth that require root canal therapy are not always painful. However, signs you may need a root canal include severe toothache, pain upon chewing or application of pressure, prolonged sensitivity or pain in response to hot and cold temperatures, a dark discoloration of the tooth, and swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact us immediately.

What happens during a root canal?

Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, we remove the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth had extensive decay, we may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breakage. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.