Root canals are one of the most common dental procedures performed in the U.S. every year. According to the American Association of Endodontists, over 25 million root canals are performed annually. While the procedure has a reputation for being painful, the reality is that with today’s advances in technology, root canals are usually no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed. In fact, the pain associated with an infected tooth is usually much worse than the discomfort of the procedure itself.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root Canal Procedure
Root canal therapy is a treatment used to save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. The procedure involves removing the damaged or infected tissue from inside the tooth (the “pulp”), cleaning and disinfecting the tooth, and then filling and sealing the tooth.
Why Do I Need Root Canal Therapy?
The pulp is the tissue inside the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels. It extends from the crown of the tooth (the part you can see in your mouth) to the tips of the roots (which are anchored in the jawbone). The pulp is important during a tooth’s development, but once the tooth is fully grown, it can survive without the pulp.
Root canal therapy is necessary when the pulp becomes damaged or infected. This can happen due to a deep cavity, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the tooth. If the pulp is damaged or infected, it can cause pain or sensitivity. If not treated, it can eventually lead to an abscess (a pus-filled pocket) in the gum tissue surrounding the tooth. An abscess can cause severe pain, bone loss, and eventually loss of the tooth.
- To begin the process of performing a root canal, we may first review x-rays to determine the extent of the infection.
- The area around the tooth will then be numbed with local anesthesia.
- During the procedure, we will create a small hole in the tooth to remove the infected tissue and clean the canals.
- Once this is done, we will fill the tooth with gutta-percha—a biocompatible material designed to restore the integrity of the tooth and prevent re-contamination.
- Finally, the tooth is encapsulated with a custom-made dental crown.
Once a root canal procedure is completed, it is important to protect the tooth with a dental crown. A crown is a “cap” that covers the entire tooth and restores it to its original shape and size. It also strengthens the tooth and makes it less likely to suffer further infection or damage.
At our office, we use high-quality, custom-made dental crowns that are specifically designed to match the natural color and shape of your surrounding teeth. We will take great care to ensure that your new crown looks aesthetically pleasing and blends in seamlessly with your smile.
Recovery time from root canal therapy is typically very short. Most patients can return to their normal activities on the same day as the procedure. There may be some soreness and tenderness in the treated area for a few days, but this can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
Your Smile In Good Hands
If you’re in need of a root canal procedure, we invite you to contact our team to schedule an appointment. Upon completion of the procedure, we will restore your tooth with a beautiful, blendable dental crown. This treatment and restoration process has a high success rate and is often effective in saving the tooth and preventing further damage.
To learn more about root canals and crowns, please contact our Cromwell, CT office!