Root Canal Treatment
By Patrick Casey on September 18, 2012
Root canal infections can be very painful and, if left untreated, can lead to abscesses and tooth loss. At the Montreal cosmetic dentistry practice of Drs. Charles and Patrick Casey, we offer the latest treatments in root canal therapy. We invite you to schedule a consultation for all of your dental needs. In the meantime, here is an overview of root canal therapy and some tips to preventing root canal infection.
The Root Canal Procedure
The root canal is the center cavity within the tooth that houses the tooth's nerve and pulp. Root canal therapy is necessary when the nerve and pulp become infected. Infection usually stems from cavities and tooth decay. Decay allows bacteria to infiltrate the delicate tissue within the root canal. If left untreated, the infection in the nerve and pulp tissue may spread and create a painful, pus filled pocket, called an abscess. Root canal treatment is vital to stop the spread of infection, relieve tooth pain, and to save the tooth from being lost to decay.
The process of the root canal procedure typically begins with a local anesthetic. The numbing effect of the anesthetic helps to reduce pain during root canal treatment. A drill or laser is used to access the root canal in order to remove the infected nerve and pulp tissue. Once the infected tissues and any decayed portions of tooth are removed, the tooth is filled with materials to aide healing, and a final filling will be applied. Some teeth may require a dental crown rather than a filling due to the extent of damage. Large fillings leave teeth weakened and susceptible to breaking. Dental crowns are often used in such cases to restore the strength and appearance of damaged teeth. If a crown is required after root canal therapy, an impression of the tooth will be made and used to custom-make a crown. A temporary crown will be placed until the customized crown is ready. Once ready, the temporary crown will be removed and the new crown will be cemented into place.
Tips To Help Prevent Root Canal Infection
Root canal infections are very painful. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent such infections. Since most root canal infections are a result of dental decay, the best method of prevention is practicing proper oral hygiene. Proper oral hygiene includes brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day, along with regular dentist visits for thorough, professional cleanings. Here are some other tips to avoid root canal infections:
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks: Foods and drinks that are full of sugar encourage plaque formation, which leads to tooth decay. Tooth decay can allow bacteria access to the root canal, infecting the nerve and pulp tissues.
- Get chips and fractures treated immediately: Dental fractures and chips increase the risk of decay by giving plaque and bacteria access to the inner layers of the teeth that are usually protected by the tooth's enamel. Untreated chips and fractures can increase the risk of root canal infection.
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“I felt more like I was talking to a friend than I was to a dentist.” Nancy Lanzolla, Former Patient