Endodontic treatment, or root canal therapy, is a procedure that treats the inside of the tooth. This treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected due to decay, bacteria buildup, or a crack or chip in the tooth. During the procedure at Cortez Dental, the damaged area of the tooth will be removed, and the inside disinfected and sealed to prevent future damage.
Once the infection has been eliminated, we can fill the space left behind with a tooth-colored filling and cap the tooth with a dental crown to restore its appearance and function. We often recommend capping the tooth with a crown to protect it from re-infection, especially if it has a crack or a large cavity. A crown can also improve the tooth’s appearance by covering discolorations or chips.
When Is Endodontic Treatment Needed?
Endodontic treatment becomes necessary when a tooth pulp infection occurs. This is usually due to severe decay or a traumatic injury that causes damage to the dental pulp, which is the inner layer of the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. The pulp can become inflamed due to exposure, causing pain and sensitivity.
In some cases, the inflammation can cause an abscess around the tooth's root, leading to more severe problems if left untreated. An endodontist can diagnose and treat these problems by removing the infected pulp and sealing off the tooth to prevent future problems. In severe cases, a full root canal treatment may be performed using advanced techniques to save the tooth.
The Procedure for Endodontic Treatment
After your endodontist has determined the source of your pain and deemed you a candidate for root canal therapy, they will begin the treatment process. First, they will administer an anesthetic to numb the area. The potency and the duration of the local anesthetic’s effects will be monitored and adjusted throughout the procedure to ensure that you remain comfortable.
Once the area is sufficiently anesthetized, the endodontist will create an opening in the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals. This opening will provide access to the nerve of the tooth, which must be removed to treat the infection while saving the tooth structure. Using specialized tools, the endodontist will carefully remove the infected tissue and clean the chambers of the canals. Sometimes, a small file may be inserted into the canals to scrape away additional debris and create space for the disinfecting solution.
Once the tooth is cleaned, it will be temporarily filled until your follow-up appointment. At your next visit, a permanent crown will be cemented over the tooth to restore its appearance and strength.
The endodontic treatment can save teeth that would otherwise need to be removed. If you maintain good oral hygiene habits and come in for regular cleanings and exams, your newly treated teeth will last many years! For the best dental care, visit Cortez Dental at 43 W. Montezuma Ave., Cortez, CO 81321, or call (970) 565-9569.