Tooth decay, trauma or cracks can cause the nerves of teeth to die. When this occurs your tooth can often still be saved with root canal therapy. Severe pain, swelling, sensitivity to hot or cold, or a darkening tooth, are signs that a root canal problem exists.
The purpose of root canal therapy is to eliminate tooth pain.
Symptoms that might indicate the need for root canal therapy include:
1) significant, constant pain, including pain that can wake you up at night,
2) increased symptoms specifically when you lie down,
3) significant sensitivity to hot or cold,
4) pain upon chewing on that tooth,
5) a darkening of the color of only one tooth, or,
6) The appearance of a pimple or fistula in the gum.
A tooth might need root canal therapy even in the absence of any pain . This can occur if the damage to the nerve is so severe that all sensation of pain is lost. Root canal therapy may still be indicated to prevent the spread of infection, asymptomatically, in the surrounding jawbone.
STEPS INVOLVED IN ROOT CANAL TREATMENT:
An opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the chamber where the pulp is found.
- The pulp is removed, and the root canal/s are cleaned and shaped into a form that can be filled easily.
- Medications to prevent infection may be placed in the pulp chamber.
- Your dentist may leave the tooth open in order for it to drain, however often a temporary filling is placed in the crown of the tooth to protect it until your next visit. Antibiotics may be prescribed to help prevent infection.
- The temporary filling will be removed, and after cleaning, the pulp chamber and root canal/s will be filled.
- Finally, your dentist may place a crown (either porcelain or gold) over your tooth.