Endodontics is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. The pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed to save the tooth. The resulting space is filled with unique, medicated dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function. Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth with problems is the solution, but what needs to be realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth. Endodontics treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although, occasionally, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
❖ Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
❖ Infection or abscess has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
❖ Injury or trauma to the tooth
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist). While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a rubber sheet) will be placed around it to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth, and a series of root canal files are placed into the space, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments. Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed. At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with unique dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth, prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function. After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed. You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.
If you have any questions for us, please give us a call and our friendly staff will be happy to help. Whether you live in the Woodlands, Spring, Conroe, Humble, Grangerland, or the surrounding North Houston area, Dr. Ly and his team would love to welcome you to our practice.