Let me write about a topic this week that seems to touch on a nerve, literally, and that topic is root canals. Just the words, root canal, can send shivers down some people’s spine. But, it doesn’t have to be that way at all. A root canal is needed when the nerve of a tooth gets infected or touched by a cavity and starts to break down. Once that cavity uncovers a nerve, the only two options that are left are either to take the tooth out, which is not what people want these days or to save the tooth by doing a root canal. Put simply, the nerve of the tooth runs inside the tooth almost like a wick in a candle. The nerve sits in a tunnel and runs all the way to the end of the root of the tooth. Once this tunnel is cleaned out of all of the nerve tissue, then a biocompatible replacement called gutta percha is sealed inside the tooth. At that point, or very quickly afterwards, a crown is needed for most teeth that have had root canals otherwise the tooth will get brittle and break off.
If you have been feeling sensitivity to hot or cold in your tooth for a while, chances are that you will need a root canal. If it hurts you every time you bite down or chew, there too, is an example that you may need a root canal. There are many times where we may take x-rays of your teeth and see an abscess forming at the end of the root which will also mean that the nerve of the tooth has died. If left alone, then one day that person will wake up with a swollen jaw where the infection has become acute and can be potentially dangerous. It’s not uncommon to find where you may have pain in a tooth for a while, then the pain goes completely away. What that usually means is that the nerve of the tooth has died, so you won’t be feeling any pain there, and then the infection is starting to grow and eat away the bone surrounding the tooth. When it becomes an acute infection, that’s where the pain and swelling gets serious and treatment is more difficult, not so much for the dentist, as for the patient. So what you don’t see, can actually hurt you, which is why it is so important to have a good set of x-rays taken every two to three years.
When root canal treatment is done in a timely fashion, before the tooth really starts to hurt you, there are, for the most part, fewer complications and very little discomfort associated with it. Most root canals, especially done in our office, are usually done within one visit, so you can get it over and done with and only have to heal up one time. There really is no need to live with any kind of dental pain.
Call today for an appointment at 440-892-1810 for a free consultation and we will be happy to help you in any way we can. As always, our goal is to help you develop and maintain a healthy smile.