Keeping your smile looking its best begins with good oral hygiene on a daily basis. Yet, even if you remain diligent in your efforts, you can still experience problems that may eventually lead to the need for root canal therapy.
While a root canal is not something you want to think about or experience, the reality is you may need to consider it at some point. The development of a damaged, infected, or highly decayed tooth will need a solution in order to maintain functionality. Knowing what root canal therapy entails and the pros and cons involved will be the first step in helping you make the right decision for your mouth should the need arise.
What Is Root Canal Therapy?
When a natural tooth is no longer able to thrive and perform as needed, it is time to consider undergoing a root canal procedure. This procedure focuses on cleaning out an infected and damaged tooth all the way to the root.
Your dental team will first take digital X-rays of your tooth to gain a better understanding and view of what is happening underneath the surface. Any sign of decay or infection reaching the root area increases the chances that it will need a root canal.
Your dentist will first numb the area then make a tiny hole in the top (or bottom, depending on where located) of the tooth. The removal of infected or decayed tissue will take place through this hole with the use of special dental tools. The inner space will also be cleared and shaped, ready for the application of a resin material. The resin fills the space up completely, restoring the structure of the tooth and much of its strength. The hole is then sealed.
Most often, you will need a dental crown to provide protection for what remains of your natural tooth after the root canal.
Pros of a Root Canal
Root canal therapy has been around for a long time and remains highly beneficial for dental patients. In particular, the following advantages or pros are realized with such therapy.
A root canal keeps your natural tooth
One of the most beneficial advantages of root canal therapy is that you keep the natural tooth in place. While the inner sections are removed, the root remains embedded in the bone, which means you don’t have to worry about suffering bone loss in this area which can affect your smile.
A root canal prevents the infection from spreading
By attending to the infection below the surface of the tooth, the root canal therapy can prevent that infection from spreading to other teeth, your gums, and other areas of the body.
A root canal puts an end to discomfort and a painful tooth
An infected tooth can result in extreme discomfort and debilitating pain for a patient. Root canal therapy can relieve this pain and discomfort and return your tooth to its functioning state.
A root canal prevents creating a gap in teeth and causing alignment issues
Saving a tooth with a root canal prevents a gap from forming. The other option, extraction, will leave a gap that can have a negative effect. When this happens, the surrounding teeth will respond, drifting or shifting in attempts to correct that newly formed gap. These actions can cause alignment and bite issues, affecting your ability to eat normally and can also change the appearance of your smile.
Cons of a Root Canal
While root canal therapy is advantageous and extremely common today, there are specific cons involved that you may want to consider beforehand.
A root canal requires a more-involved procedure as compared to a tooth extraction
Root canal therapy requires a more involved procedure, often requiring patients to sit for over an hour at a time. You may experience discomfort having to hold your mouth open for long periods, including in the jaw area.
While your dentist will usually complete the root canal therapy in one visit, it will depend on the severity of infection or decay. More extreme cases may result in the need for multiple appointments.
A root canal weakens the natural tooth and will require a dental crown
A root canal will weaken the natural tooth, leaving it more brittle and prone to cracks. As such, you will require the addition of a dental crown to provide protection and reinforcement. This dental restoration will strengthen the tooth and allow it to function much like your natural tooth.
A root canal requires seeing a specialist unless your dentist offers these services in-office
Root canal therapy falls under Endodontics, a dental specialty, and often requires you travel to a different office for treatment. This requirement can be an inconvenience, and you may feel uncomfortable with someone other than your trusted dentist performing the procedure. However, some dental offices, including Bateson Dentistry, offer these services in-house today, making it more convenient and quicker for patients.
Contact Bateson Dentistry to Learn More
Dealing with a damaged, decayed, or infected tooth often requires more than a simple remedy. Root canal therapy is a safe and beneficial treatment that our patients here at Bateson Dentistry can undergo right here in our office. Dr. Angela Bateson will go over the pros and cons of root canal therapy and guide you through the process should it be necessary to maintain your oral health. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.