Save a decaying tooth with root canal therapy
Decay is a dirty word in dentistry. Decay, if detected early is not difficult to stop and address with common fillings. But if decay progresses and reaches the interior of the tooth, affecting the nerve, more drastic measures are required to save the tooth — a root canal. Although there are many misperceptions about the pain involved in a root canal, the reality is that this procedure is a relatively painless way to save a natural tooth that has extensive decay or damage. If you are considering a root canal, contact our Clear Lake, TX office, or call (281) 486-8061.
What is root canal therapy?
Root canal therapy is necessary when the nerve of a tooth has been damaged by decay or infection. At this point, the goal is to save the tooth. This can be done by removing the infected pulp and nerves from the tooth. The tooth is then filled and crowned.
Many people believe that tooth extraction is an easier solution to an infected tooth. The truth is an extraction can cause many problems on its own. In addition, you will need to address the gap in your teeth following the extraction.
In contrast, a root canal has over a 95% success rate and it allows the patient to keep his or her tooth usually for the rest of their life.
Do I need a root canal?
You may need a root canal if you have a severe toothache or extreme sensitivity to hot and cold foods or beverages. There may also be swelling or tenderness in the area or an abscess on the gums. In some cases, the patient may not experience any symptoms at all. This is often true in cases of tooth trauma. Generally, we use x-rays to determine if decay or infection has reached the nerve of the tooth and would require a root canal. To schedule a root canal appointment, please contact our Clear Lake, TX office.
What can I expect during my root canal?
Occasionally, a root canal requires two appointments. At our office in Clear Lake, we begin the procedure by numbing the tooth. Then we open the top of the tooth to gain access to the interior. We remove all the decayed pulp, dentin, nerves, and bacteria from the tooth. If there is concern that all of the infection may not be completely removed, a temporary filling may be placed and you will return in a week or so for a second appointment to be sure the tooth is now infection free. This step isn’t usually needed if the tooth is in the early stages of infection.
Either way, after the tooth is completely cleaned out, it is filled with a rubber material called gutta percha. The opening is then filled and often is covered with a crown to reinforce the tooth’s strength.
There are perceptions that root canals are very painful, but in reality, the procedure is no more painful than having a common filling placed in a tooth. People may have pain associations because the infection that leads to the root canal can be incredibly painful. Root canal therapy is not.
In the 40 years that I have been a patient I have had nothing but outstanding service from the hygienists, assistants, office staff and especially Dr. Peters himself. He has even come into the office on a Sunday to do a root canal that permitted me to stay on schedule for an important business trip. Basis my experience my son and daughter in law also rely on them for their dental care.