Did you know that your tooth is a living organ? Many of our patients are surprised to discover this interesting fact, as teeth seem so much like a hard and inert object in our mouths. However, just because your tooth seems like it is not alive, that could not be further from the truth. Your dental enamel is the strongest material in your body, and for a good reason. It needs to protect the vulnerable inner layers of your tooth, the dentin, and the pulp. The pulp is made out of a bundle of nerve endings and blood vessels, and if it gets attacked by infection, these blood vessels and nerve endings can die.
When that happens, we here at Cane Bay Family Dentistry need to perform a root canal procedure to help save the tooth and prevent it from being extracted.
Your tooth is made up of three layers. The outer part is the enamel, which is quite hard and durable and serves to protect the inner layers. Right below the enamel is the dentin, which is a softer material, and finally, your tooth core is the pulp. The pulp is made of nerves and blood vessels, but it is quite vulnerable to infection.
When your dental enamel succumbs to tooth decay, the bacteria can quickly burrow through the layers of your tooth and into your dental pulp. When this happens, an abscess can form, leading to a serious and potentially dangerous infection. We need to quickly treat this infection to prevent complications that can severely harm you.
A root canal is a procedure that can save a tooth from requiring extraction. If we did not perform this procedure, your tooth might be at risk of being lost. By removing all of the infection and covering the affected tooth with a dental crown, we can help keep it secure in your mouth.
Before we begin your root canal therapy, we will first start by numbing the affected tooth with local anesthetic (typically lidocaine). Once we are confident that you are comfortable, we will then place a dental dam around the tooth to keep it clean and free from debris or saliva while we are working on it.
Next, we will then carefully drill into the affected tooth to expose the pulp. We will remove any infected area of the tooth and the pulp, then shape the tooth to prepare it for filling. Sometimes antibiotics are necessary to cleanse the area. We will then fill the tooth with a material called gutta percha, then place a temporary filling over it.
Dental impressions of your mouth will be made and sent to our lab to create your permanent crown. It may take up to weeks for it to return to us from the lab. Once it returns, we will have you come back for a final fitting. If the fit of the crown is good, we will use dental cement to bond it to your tooth.
There is no need to be afraid of getting a root canal. You can rest assured that when we perform this procedure for you, we will be careful and gentle to help ensure the best possible outcome for you and your smile. To learn more about root canal therapy or to set up an appointment with us here at Cane Bay Family Dentistry, please give us a call today at (843) 352-4454!