Do You Need a Root Canal?
A root canal otherwise referred to as endodontic treatment, is a restorative method used to save teeth that have become infected below the tooth’s crown. In every tooth, underneath the hard, white enamel and the underlying layer of dentin, there are soft pockets of pulp, which harbor blood vessels, nerve endings and soft tissues that supply the tooth and connect it to the surrounding tissues in the jaw. The pulp is what allows a tooth to grow during its many stages of development, but becomes rather stationary when your dentition is fully established.
There are certain instances when the pulp becomes infected, due to decay that has traveled deep into the tooth’s roots or dental trauma. When infection occurs within the pulp, a root canal is usually suggested to try and save the tooth’s natural structure. Without having a root canal performed, the infection can spread beyond the roots of the tooth and begin to impact the health of your other bodily organs.
Signs that you may need a root canal:
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Tenderness when touched or chewing
- Swelling around the gums where the tooth is located
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Discoloration of the tooth
If you start experiencing one or more of these symptoms in a tooth, it’s important to contact La Jolla Cosmetic Dentistry & Orthodontics to receive an examination. Dr. Kohani believes that saving the natural tooth is what will benefit your oral health the most. With this conservative approach to dentistry, he can provide treatment that works with your tooth structure to create a smile that is true to your specific needs and cosmetic goals.
Procedural Details for Endodontic Treatment
A root canal specifically targets the infected pulp in the tooth and works to remove it from the mouth. The procedure is performed by first using a local anesthetic to numb the area. Once feeling is lost in the tooth, Dr. Kohani will create a hole in the crown in order to access the pulp below. The infection is wiped clean from the root canals and replaced with gutta-percha — a biocompatible material similar in consistency to rubber. Dr. Kohani will then seal the root canals and replace your natural tooth enamel with a ceramic crown. Afterward, your tooth will be restored to its full function with the same natural qualities as before.
Your Root Canal Consultation
When you experience pain or discomfort in the areas surrounding a specific tooth, it’s important that you consult with Dr. Kohani to get the tooth examined. Dr. Kohani will take x-rays of the tooth using a 3D digital CT scan and locate the infection, at which point he will determine whether endodontic treatment is the right method for saving your tooth. Tooth extractions are also an option when preserving the health of your teeth and jaw, but they can also be costly and need to be replaced with an implant or bridge in order to restore functionality. If possible, depending on the extent of your infection, it is always best to save the natural tooth structure.