Root Canal Treatment
Your tooth enamel is composed of extremely fine, densely packed mineral crystals made from substances like calcium and fluoride. These crystals are packed together – and form a hard outer shell that keeps bacteria, food particles and other “nasties” away from the sensitive part of your tooth.
Unfortunately, 2 things happen over time. First, the crystals tend to become depleted because of alkaline and acidic chemical reactions; sugars and salts; temperature changes. This makes it easy for plaque to attach itself to the enamel. Eventually, this plaque calcifies and hardens, becoming tartar: a “crystallized” layer of food particles processed by bacteria.
This is bad enough because it discolors teeth and can lead to caries, tooth decay and cavities. However, the real problem is when all these things start happening at the root level, where a regular dental clean-up can’t get the bacteria, tartar, etc out. If this happens, it sometimes becomes necessary to remove inflamed or infected tissue from the tooth root in order to preserve and save the tooth itself.
Why Root Canal Treatment is Necessary
When a tooth decays or becomes infected at the root level, it is often still possible to save it. The real problem is with the soft tissue inside the tooth – namely, the root nerve and the gutta-percha inside your tooth canals – is beyond saving. When this happens, it’s necessary to “open” your tooth, remove the soft inner tissue inside and then fill up the tooth before “closing” it with a hard material.
That may sound a little complicated, and even potentially painful – but here’s how it happens in 5 simple steps.
The 5 Steps of Root Canal Treatment
- First, an infection needs to be identified. If there’s no infection or decay inside the tooth, there’s likely no need for root canal treatment.
- Second, the tooth is numbed using a local anaesthetic, and an opening is made at the top to allow the dentist access.
- Third, the problematic tissue is removed – and the canals are then filled up with a permanent, aseptic, hypoallergenic material.
- Fourth, the filling is treated (cured) and the tooth is “closed” with a crown, or sometimes a smaller onlay.
- Finally, the crown is cemented into place – at which point you can go back to living your life the same way you always would!
In most cases, you can go back to living your regular everyday life immediately. As soon as the anaesthetic wears off, you can go back to eating, drinking and chewing gum the same way you would usually.
(In rare cases, you may need to wait for the gum tissue to recover from the initial infection. The same applies to infected nerves. There may be a little residual pain from these problems – but almost never from the root canal treatment itself.)
If you want to find out more about the root treatment options we offer – including debridement and root planing/scaling – give us a call at (781) 277-3120 for an instant, free quote and consultation!