Here at Woodcreek Dental, we understand that tooth decay problems sometimes require extreme intervention to save the tooth. Losing a tooth can be devastating. Not only does it interfere with the normal functions of chewing and biting, but it can also disfigure a smile. When tooth decay has dug deep, reaching to the pulp and nerves, it is still possible to restore function and relieve discomfort. Root canals are a good way to resolve this situation.
The procedure involves the complete excavation of decayed matter from the interior of the tooth, including the pulp and nerves. After that the space is sterilized and closed off. Luckily, the nerve is not essential to the survival or function of the tooth. Its removal only deprives the tooth of sensory capability. The removal of pulp is necessary, as bacteria tend to multiply easily in it. Its removal is to reduce the risk of infection.
Reasons To Save The Natural Tooth
You may already be aware that teeth can be replaced. Treatments like dental implants and dentures can help fill a missing gap, restoring function to the mouth. You might be wondering why not just remove a severely decayed tooth and replace it with an artificial option. Although artificial replacements can work well, they can never feel completely natural as the original tooth. Chewing does not feel the same with artificial replacements.
The way teeth come in to fill gaps is also hard to replicate if extracted. Artificial replacements also present a problem when it comes to receiving brain signals. With a natural tooth, there is good communication on how hard to chew, bite, and other movements. This connection is severed when the tooth is replaced.
Although root canals remove the nerves in the tooth pulp, there are still other nerves in the surrounding tissue that help with sensory connection and providing nourishment to the tooth. Preserving the natural tooth allows for better control and prevents excessive wear and tear. The appearance of a natural tooth also makes for a more uniform smile. While some replacements are good at imitation, they can never feel as naturally occurring.
How Root Canals Are Performed
The procedure begins with an x-ray to get a clear idea of the internal damage. Local anesthesia is administered to the area around the affected tooth. Although the nerve is dead, and you should not feel any pain, anesthesia does help patients to feel more at ease. The pulp is accessed via the back of the tooth if front-facing, and through the crown if a molar or pre-molar. The decayed material, pulp, pus, and nerves are extracted through a procedure called a pulpectomy. The space is then thoroughly cleaned out to allow sanitary placement of a filling.
A rubber-like material called gutta-percha is placed in the cavity with an adhesive cement to seal off the root canals. A temporary filling protects the remaining cavity until your next appointment, when the dentist will place a crown, and possible post if the tooth cannot adequately support the restoration. The dentist will discuss with you what other restoration work may be needed to ensure full functionality.
To find out if your natural tooth can be saved and its normal functionality restored, come and see us. We specialize in dental treatments that not only make for a perfect smile but also its healthy use. Contact us at Woodcreek Dental at (805) 738-5566 for more information.