All jokes about the pain of root canals aside, in reality, root canal therapy is exactly what you want if an infected tooth is causing you misery.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s the infection that causes most of the pain associated with root canals, not the root canal treatment. Just as important as relief from pain, root canal treatment may prevent the loss of the tooth, which can lead to more expensive and complicated treatments down the road.
Dr. Talva Grundstrom Joost , a cosmetic dentist serving Jefferson City and surrounding areas, offers root canal therapy and is an advocate of keeping your natural teeth if at all possible. By keeping your natural teeth you can avoid additional treatments, such as dental implants or bridges. In addition to saving your tooth, root canal therapy also stops infection, which can spread if left untreated.
Root canal therapy does not doom your tooth to being pulled in the future. A tooth can survive without the pulp that is removed during treatment because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues around it. With proper oral hygiene, a tooth that has received root canal therapy will often last the rest of your life.
The goal of root canal therapy is to remove inflamed or infected pulp in the interior of the tooth. The first step is examining the tooth and taking an X-ray. Then, a local anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth. To keep the tooth clean and dry during the procedure, a “dental dam” is used to isolate the tooth.
Next, an opening is created in the crown of the tooth, exposing the pulp in the pulp chamber near the top of the tooth and in the roots of the tooth, called the canals. Using very small instruments, the pulp is removed. Once cleared, the root canal will be widened slightly and the pulp chamber straightened to prepare it for filling. The inside is also disinfected. Once prepared, the tooth is filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha to completely seal the interior.
Depending on the treatment, a crown or temporary crown will be applied to protect the tooth. If a temporary crown is used, you will return at a later point to have a permanent crown applied.
In most cases you will not have any pain during a root canal procedure, which is typically no more uncomfortable than getting a filling. The treatment can often be performed in just one or two visits.
You should consult a dentist if you have a tooth that:
Letting a tooth go untreated can spread infection and may cause you to lose the tooth, leading to additional treatments and expense in the future.
Please call us if you have concerns. In addition to cosmetic and general dentistry services, Central Dental Care also offers oral surgery for patients in Jefferson City, Columbia, and surrounding communities of Cole County, MO.