A root canal is a procedure that treats an infection at the roots of a tooth. When left untreated, the infection can spread to other areas of the mouth and body. An infected tooth can negatively affect your smile’s appearance and may lead to more severe problems if you don’t see your dentist immediately.
At La Mesa Dental Services, our dentist will remove the infected pulp from your tooth during a root canal procedure. Then, the dentist will fill empty spaces with an inert material called gutta-percha. Finally, they will cap the tooth with a dental crown to protect it and restore it to full function. Since the tooth's nerve is no longer present, it’ll no longer feel pain.
When Is A Root Canal Needed?
A root canal is usually needed due to an infection affecting the tooth’s root. This can be caused by deep decay, cracks or chips in the teeth, or other trauma that exposes the tooth's nerve and leads to infection. A visit to the dentist can diagnose the cause of the problem and determine the best course of treatment. If left untreated, the infection can spread and lead to significant complications. Sometimes, the tissue surrounding the tooth becomes infected and requires treatment. An abscess can form on the top of the gums and cause pain when eating, speaking, or even opening your mouth.
After removing the pulp during a root canal procedure, the tooth will be thoroughly cleaned and sealed. A crown is often recommended to restore the tooth and protect it from future damage. The crown fits over the natural tooth and provides a stable surface for chewing. It also helps improve the appearance of the tooth. After your root canal, we will recommend restorative options to help return your smile to optimal health.
The Root Canal Procedure
Anesthesia is administered to ensure that the patient remains comfortable throughout the procedure. A rubber dam is placed over the affected tooth to isolate and keep it clean and dry during the process. An opening is drilled into the tooth's biting surface, and the pulp is removed. The canals are then cleaned using small files. These are then filled with gutta-percha, and a dental crown is placed over the remaining structure. This restores the strength and function of the tooth.
With proper care, a tooth that has received a successful root canal can last a lifetime. While the crown placed over the tooth is not invincible and may eventually break or require replacement, it is a substantial restoration that can withstand regular usage. A patient should always use care when biting complex objects like ice or candy to prevent undue pressure on the restored tooth.
If you have an infected tooth and would love to get it treated, visit La Mesa Dental Services at 6663 El Cajon Blvd Suite C/D, San Diego, 92115, or call (619) 871-5001 to schedule an appointment.