Cavities are a relatively common dental issue. They form when teeth are not cleaned thoroughly with proper brushing and flossing habits. Dental fillings are usually an adequate treatment to remove the damage and fill in the missing tooth structure, and no further treatment is needed. However, if the cavity is not treated promptly enough, the decay can worsen. At this point, it could threaten the health of the core of the tooth where the blood vessels and nerves are located. If the decay reaches the dental pulp, an abscess could form, potentially affecting the surrounding teeth and gums. To prevent this from happening, a root canal will have to be performed. Alan Pressman DMD offers this treatment in Spring Valley.
Your dentist may take x-rays of the affected tooth before the actual procedure. This will give him or her a better look at the tooth below the gum line, along with the tooth roots and the surrounding bone.
An anesthetic will be administered to the site first to minimize pain and discomfort. Your dentist will place a sheet of latex rubber called a dental dam around the tooth being treated to keep it dry and clean for the duration of the procedure. The inside of the tooth will be accessed through a hole that your dentist will create in the crown (top) of the tooth. The pulp will then be removed along with all traces of decay. The inside of the tooth will be cleaned and reshaped to discourage bacteria from collecting there again. Once prepared, the canal will be filled with a biocompatible material (usually gutta percha) to restore its structural integrity and allow you to use it as usual again. After it is sealed, a tooth treated with a root canal is usually covered with a dental crown, which will be placed at a later appointment.
The root canal procedure is somewhat infamously known as an uncomfortable and painful procedure, but this is a misconception. Because anesthesia is used, it’s not more painful than any other dental treatment, and if your tooth requires a root canal, then chances are, you’re already in some pain due to the affected tooth. The procedure will not only restore the health of the tooth but will also relieve your pain. If you believe that you may need this treatment, contact us at Alan Pressman DMD in Spring Valley.