Can Root Canal Therapy Save Teeth?

Doctor Genius, 2021

Can Root Canal Treatment Save Teeth?

Root canal therapy is a routine procedure that many patients dread, and many often wonder if it is really needed when recommended by their dentist. In addition to relieving pain and discomfort, a root canal can actually save a tooth that has sustained serious damage or has become deeply infected. While this common procedure can involve replacing a bad tooth with an implant, denture or bridge, it is often performed to remove only the decayed portion of the tooth, allowing the patient to keep the tooth and not lose it.

What causes a tooth to decay?

A tooth contains a soft core known as the dental pulp. If a tooth is damaged by a crack or a break, this opening can allow bacteria to enter the pulp. If the tooth is not treated, the bacteria can lead to serious infection or even an abscess, which causes symptoms such as severe pain, swelling, and increased sensitivity to heat or cold. It can cause the pulp to die, which could result in the loss of bone or the tooth itself. However, by seeking dental treatment early, it is very likely that your dentist will be able to save your tooth by performing a root canal.

How can a root canal save my tooth?

A root canal can be performed by a general dentist or an endodontist and is usually completed in one or two visits. Here is what you can expect when you receive this tooth-saving therapy.

Preparing for the root canal: First, the dentist will X-ray the tooth to determine how badly the tooth is damaged, and the findings on the X-rays will form the basis of your treatment. The dentist will then give you a numbing agent so that you do not feel pain during the procedure.

Removing the initial decay: Once the local anesthetic has taken effect, the dentist will remove the decay and then access the diseased pulp. This pulp is then removed from the tooth.

Deep cleaning: After the removal of the pulp, the dentist will flush and clean the area to remove any remaining debris and infected tissue, and medication may also be applied to further treat infection. Then, the area is allowed to dry.

Filling the canal: The cleaned, disinfected, and dried canal is first filled with a paste or rubber compound. Afterwards, the dentist will insert a filling into the canal.

Finishing the tooth: The filled tooth is then sealed and restored by having a temporary or a permanent crown placed on it. You may need to return for a second visit to have the permanent crown fitted.

How long will the root canal last?

A root canal can last on average ten to fifteen years. However, if you take good care of your teeth, it is possible that it will last a lifetime. By rooting out the infection, the tooth can be saved for an extended amount of time or even permanently. Therefore, it is important to seek out a dental consultation as soon as your initial symptoms occur.