Root canal therapy is a specialty dental procedure designed to treat decay and other types of damage in the deeper central portion of the tooth (the pulp). The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues necessary for supporting the health of the tooth. If the pulp becomes damaged, it needs to be treated to prevent losing the whole tooth. The pulp is contained in narrow channels or canals that extend to the tooth root. Root canals use special techniques and instruments to carefully remove damaged pulp without injuring the surrounding healthy tooth material.
Root canal procedures use the same concept as a traditional filling procedure - remove the decayed portion and then fill, stabilize, and protect the tooth. But because the pulp is located deep inside the tooth, special techniques are necessary to access it and remove it. Dr. Fromzel begins by completely numbing the tooth. Then special tools are used to gently remove the pulp without damaging the tooth structure. The canals are cleaned of debris, and a sealant and special filling material are applied. Finally, the tooth is prepared for a crown, which is necessary to provide protection and strength for the tooth, and to cover up the discoloration that typically develops once the central portion of the tooth is removed. The crown will be made in a highly-rated dental lab, then applied during a second visit. When infection is present, a special medicated filling may be used temporarily to fight off the infection, then replaced with the “normal” filling before the crown is applied.
It’s almost always better to save a natural tooth rather than have it pulled. Teeth are designed to work in pairs, creating a specific bite balance. When a natural tooth is pulled or removed, the bite balance is altered, and that can result in uneven tooth wear, tooth damage, jaw pain, and even additional tooth loss. Plus, having a root canal is usually less costly than having an extraction followed by a bridge or implant, and it’s also a more comfortable solution for most patients. Finally, preserving a natural tooth helps patients feel more self-confident about their teeth and their smiles.
Yes, crowns provide additional support and strength once the tooth’s natural central portion is removed. They’re essential for preventing further damage to the tooth.
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