While your teeth can endure a lifetime of wear and tear, they’re not indestructible. Teeth can weaken from damage due to tooth decay, trauma, and gum disease.
An infected or damaged tooth can result in swollen gums, tooth discoloration, and severe pain when exerting pressure on it as you bite or chew. Your symptoms can include constant discomfort and ongoing sensitivity to extreme temperatures when you eat and drink.
In many cases, a root canal can treat your discomfort and preserve the infected or damaged tooth. Every year, more than 15 million patients undergo this procedure to save their teeth and avoid extraction.
The primary goal in treating tooth problems is always focused on saving your natural tooth. That’s because a tooth and its root play an essential role in your oral health. When infection or damage threatens a tooth, it may require extraction if it can’t be saved. However, if the condition is identified and treated early, a root canal can help preserve the structure of your natural tooth.
A professional dental examination is necessary to assess whether a root canal can save your damaged tooth. The team at Downtown Dental Studio, located in the financial district of New York City, specialize in using root canal therapy to help people save their teeth and avoid extraction. They provide caring, professional treatment to help you stay comfortable so you have a healthy tooth when you’re done.
Find out how a root canal can save a damaged or infected tooth and why that makes a difference.
How an infection threatens tooth health
The term “root canal” describes the hollow canal inside each tooth that extends from the top of the crown to the tip of the root. The canal is filled with pulp, soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels, and crucial connective tissue.
When you have a deep cavity or hole in your tooth from damage or decay, harmful bacteria can penetrate this area and wreak havoc on the tissue. A painful and destructive infection can result. If left untreated, the bacteria can slowly destroy the internal structures of the tooth, threatening the health of the entire tooth, down to its roots.
The risk of the infection spreading to the tooth roots is a concern because it can lead to bone deterioration, pulp death, and the need to extract the damaged tooth.
The problem with losing a tooth and its roots is far more than cosmetic. Your tooth roots are held firmly in place by bone that’s constantly regenerated by nutrients released when the tooth is used to chew.
The space in your mouth left by a missing tooth creates a gap in the gum line that doesn’t receive adequate stimulation because your body stops renewing the bone beneath the gap. As a result, you can experience bone deterioration, and your neighboring teeth can start to shift out of place to occupy the gap.
Over time, as your jawbone collapses where the missing tooth existed, this bone loss can also lead to changes in your facial structure and overall appearance.
How a root canal can resolve your problems
A “root canal” is also the term used to describe the procedure that treats infections that occur in the root canal of an affected tooth. While the treatment is called a root canal, it’s technically endodontic therapy.
The procedure involves removing the infected tissue from a tooth. It’s typically performed using a local anesthetic, though some patients have sedation or IV anesthesia.
During a root canal, your dentist drills a small hole into the canal. Small files are used to reach and remove the diseased pulp. Water is used to flush the debris from the pulp chamber and root canal.
The last step of a root canal involves filling the area with gutta percha, a rubber-like material that seals the canal and prevents bacteria from entering inside the tooth again. Since your tooth is vulnerable after the procedure, it’s usually fitted with a crown or filling for protection, depending on the amount of tooth surface remaining.
A root canal treats your infection, relieves your symptoms, and allows your teeth to remain in their natural positions. This supports the health of your jaw and the natural line of your teeth. It also maintains a normal biting force and avoids compromising the health of your adjacent teeth, which can occur with some tooth replacement options.
Without treatment, you can risk the future of an infected or damaged tooth and affect the structure of your mouth. To arrange a consultation, call our office or book an appointment online today.