Root Canal in Washington DC
The term root canal refers to the cavity located in the central part of the tooth where the pulp or pulp chamber is located. This is where the nerve of the tooth resides, and this nerve is critical to the health and functioning of the tooth. However, the nerve doesn’t have any impact on the everyday operation of the tooth, as its primary purpose is to provide sensation.
Teeth that become infected and those that are severely decayed may require a root canal if they are to be restored to proper function. During this procedure, the dentist removes the pulp and nerve of the damaged tooth before cleaning and sealing the inner portion. If this procedure isn’t completed, the tissue surrounding the affected tooth may develop an infection, leading to the formation of abscesses.
How Do the Nerve and Pulp Become Damaged?
Multiple dental procedures on the same tooth, a large filling, trauma to the face, deep decay, or a chip or crack in a tooth can lead to damage to the nerve and pulp of a tooth. Regardless of how the injury occurs, it is essential to have the tooth fixed promptly. If not, the problem may spread.
When is a Root Canal Necessary?
If the pulp or nerve tissue of a tooth is damaged, it begins to break down, leading to bacteria multiplying within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can bring on an abscessed tooth or an infection. An abscess contains fluid that accumulates in the ends of the tooth’s roots and then spreads past these roots. The face, head, and neck may begin to swell, and bone at the root’s tip may be lost. As the abscess attempts to drain, it can result in a hole opening in the side of the tooth. The tooth then begins to flow liquid into the gums, or it may flow through the cheek and then into the skin.
In some instances, there may be no indication that a root canal is required. However, patients often report severe pain when they apply pressure to the affected tooth or chew. When the tooth becomes discolored, this may be a sign a root canal will be needed, and the same is true if the gums near the tooth become tender or swollen. Swelling that persists on the gums near the tooth may be a sign that a root canal is needed, and the same is true when a tooth is sensitive to either cold or heat, even after the cold or hot item has been removed. The best way to determine an appropriate course of action is to visit a dental professional who can provide a proper diagnosis for the tooth.
What Happens During A Root Canal?
The dentist begins the procedure by taking an X-Ray to determine if any infection is present and to see the shape of the canals. Anesthesia will then be used to numb the area. A rubber dam must be placed around the tooth to prevent saliva from entering the area being treated, and a small hole is drilled into the tooth to access the pulp.
The dentist then removes any nerve tissue that has decayed and any debris present using root canal files. A sodium hypochlorite solution or water will be applied at various times throughout the process to remove any debris. Once all debris has been removed, and the canals are clean, the tooth must be sealed. This may take place immediately, or the dentist may opt to wait a week. If this is the case, medication will often be placed into the tooth to remove any infection. In cases where the tooth isn’t sealed immediately, a temporary filling will be used to prevent contaminants from entering the tooth.
When it is time to fill the tooth, gutta-percha is placed in the root canal. Gutta-percha is a rubber compound and sealer paste that fills the canals, and a filling is used to cover the hole used to access the tooth. In many cases, further restorative work, such as a crown or crown and post, will be necessary. The dentist determines what needs to be done to protect the tooth and prevent further issues while restoring full function to the tooth. There is little, if any, discomfort associated with a root canal, and many patients find the relief they obtain from any pain they were experiencing is much higher than any discomfort they endure.
Contact Our Washington DC Office to Learn More
Individuals with a severely decayed or infected tooth have options when it comes to correcting the issue. Some opt to have the tooth pulled, others prefer to remove the tooth and replace it with a dental implant, and some opt for a root canal. Call us today, and we’ll help you determine which option is right for your particular situation and the specific tooth. We want to provide you with a smile you love and teeth that contribute to your overall health. For this reason, we need to evaluate each tooth individually to create a treatment plan that works for you both in the short and long run. Learn about our tooth extraction service.
Contact our dental clinic near Maryland – Washington Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry today at 202-363-2500 or fill out our contact form today and we can develop a treatment plan that addresses your unique dental needs.