Endodontics, or Root Canal Treatment
A tooth is comprised of layers – the protective outer layer of enamel, which is made almost entirely of minerals; the dentin, which makes up the bulk of the tooth; and the pulp, which contains the tooth’s nerves, blood vessels, and other soft tissues. When decay reaches the tissues inside of the pulp, root canal treatment (or endodontic treatment) may be the only option for relieving the pain and avoiding tooth loss or extraction.
What to Expect from Root Canal Treatment
- Like a dental filling, root canal treatment is a restorative measure that removes infection from your tooth to preserve its remaining healthy structure. To do so, Dr. Correa will gently access the interior of the tooth, then clean the infected tissues from the pulp and the root canal connected to it.
- To minimize discomfort, Dr. Correa will administer local anesthesia to the tooth and the tissues around it before the treatment begins. If you are anxious about receiving root canal treatment, then you may also opt for nitrous oxide sedation (also known as laughing gas).
- The tooth’s root canal extends into your jawbone, and can provide a pathway for the spread of bacteria if not treated. Root canal treatment involves cleaning and sealing the root canals to prevent the spread of bacteria in the future.
- After the infected pulp is removed and the root canal is sanitized and filled, Dr. Correa may suggest placing a dental crown over the tooth for improved protection against your bite pressure.
- If the infection has spread beyond the tooth, or the tooth’s root has developed an abscess (pocket of infection), then you may require the attention of an endodontic specialist.
Are There Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment is usually the last resort to treating extensive tooth infection before the condition becomes too severe. If you don’t seek treatment soon enough, then root canal therapy might not be enough, and Dr. Correa may have to extract the tooth to stop its infection from spreading to nearby tissues.
The most appropriate alternative is to prevent the need for root canal treatment by maintaining excellent dental hygiene and attending regularly-scheduled exams and cleanings. Before root canal treatment becomes necessary, you can address less-severe cases of tooth decay with a custom dental filling.