A root canal treatment repairs and saves a severely decayed or infected tooth. During a root canal process, the damaged or infected nerve and pulp of the tooth are extracted and the canal cleaned and sealed. A tooth's nerve is not critically important to a tooth's health and function after the tooth has come out through the gums.
When Does Tooth Pulp Need to Be Extracted?
When a tooth's nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, bacteria grow within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed residues could cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that develops at the tip of the roots of the tooth.
An infection in the root canal of a tooth could also cause:
- Inflammation that could spread to other portions of the neck, face, or head
- Loss of bone mass around the tip of the tooth's roots
- Infection getting into skin and blood
Root Canal Procedure
At Alencar Family Dentistry, we will take an X-ray to see the shape of the root canals and check for signs of infection. We will use local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth to make you feel more comfortable. To make sure the area is dry and free of saliva during treatment, Dr. Jayme Alencar Oliveira will place a rubber sheet around the tooth.
The next step is drilling an opening into the tooth. The infected pulp, bacteria, and decayed nerve tissue are then extracted from the tooth. The area is meticulously cleaned out using a series of root canal files to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canals. Once the canals are washed clean, water or sodium hypochlorite will be sprayed in the area to clear away the debris.
After the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it's sealed by putting medication inside it. If the treatment takes more than one day, a temporary filling is placed in the outer hole to keep out saliva and food between appointments.
A sealer paste and a rubbery substance called gutta-percha are packed into the root canal at our next appointment. The opening is closed with a filling and the tooth may be further strengthened through a crown.
We can treat your infected or damaged tooth, along with enhancing the appearance of your smile. To schedule a dental examination or to learn more about a root canal, call (757) 546-0301