Anyone that has had a toothache can attest to the fact that the pain of a toothache is unlike any pain you’ve experienced before. Pain from a toothache comes on very strong, and is very difficult to manage with over-the-counter pain medication. The first reaction for many people with a toothache is to have the tooth pulled. Losing a tooth opens up a whole new ballgame of problems for the patient.
Ensuring that patients keep their natural teeth is something that our dentist at Old Milton Dental believe is vital, for a lifetime of healthy smiles. The simple procedure known as a root canal is designed to relieve the pain from a toothache, allowing the patient to keep their natural teeth.
Why Do I Need a Root Canal?
Inside the crown of each tooth is a chamber that houses the tooth’s nerve. Known as the “pulp” this nerve is responsible for keeping the tooth vital. Under normal circumstances, the pulp is protected by two layers of tooth structure – the dentin and the enamel – and remains healthy. There are instances that will cause the pulp to become damaged and die. The most common cause of tooth pulp damage includes:
Deep cavities – when a cavity breaks through the enamel layer of the tooth and continues past the dentin layer, tooth decay can invade the pulp chamber. Once decay has reached the nerve of the tooth, removing the decay without destroying the nerve is nearly impossible, resulting in the need to completely remove the nerve in order to save the tooth. When the decay has infected the nerve the tooth may become abscessed (infected) causing a great deal of pain and discomfort that can sometimes be unbearable for the patient.
Trauma to the tooth – if you have ever been hit in the mouth or directly in the teeth, even with a slight amount of force, there is a chance that the nerve of the tooth could become damaged. Over time, sometimes many years later, the nerve may begin to die, causing pain and discomfort in the tooth. A simple series of tests, which consists of testing the tooth for temperature sensitivity, percussion response, and mobility, will help Drs. Corey Mazer, Katie Reid and Jenna Powell determine if the tooth is in fact dead.
Age – teeth are designed for a lifetime of use, but overtime and due to several circumstances, the nerve of the tooth may slowly die. The tooth in question may one day begin to ache and then almost out of nowhere, begin to cause a great deal of pain and discomfort.
How is the Root Canal Performed?
The root canal procedure is perhaps one of the most feared dental procedures out there but what many people don’t understand is the actual procedure is quite simple and is pain free. The misconception that a root canal is painful is likely due to heightened pain sensation of the toothache.
The root canal procedure is broken into two or three appointments. Drs. Corey Mazer, Katie Reid or Jenna Powell will determine how many appointments are necessary, after evaluating your tooth.
The general steps taken during a root canal include:
- Numbing the tooth with local anesthetic
- Removing the nerve and draining out the infection
- Filling the nerve chamber with a dental material designed to seal the inside of the tooth
- Removing the remaining decay
- Placing a permanent filling
- Placing a permanent dental crown
The steps above are not always completed in the same appointment. Sometimes it is necessary to clear up the infection in the tooth before continuing with the procedure. In this case, Drs. Corey Mazer, Katie Reid or Jenna Powell will drain the infection and place a temporary filling on the tooth. This procedure will help to relieve the pressure on the tooth and help with pain management. Some patients may require an antibiotic as well. Once the infection is gone, the complete removal of all if the nerve tissue inside the tooth, and then the sealing off of the nerve chambers and canals takes place. The final filling is placed on the tooth and plans are then made for a dental crown to be placed on the tooth at a later date.
Contact Our Alpharetta Office About Root Canal Therapy
Drs. Corey Mazer, Katie Reid and Jenna Powell would be happy to discuss the root canal procedure with you, and answer any questions you may have regarding this procedure at our Alpharetta, Georgia office.