When the nerves in your tooth become infected, you have one of two options. You can extract the tooth or you can try to save it with a special dental procedure called root canal treatment. Root canals are a relatively simple procedure involving one to three office visits. Best of all, having a root canal when necessary can save your tooth and your smile!
When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, you will have a tooth ache. Root canal therapy functions to remove the infected tissue so that your tooth would be painless once more.
A tooth usually needs a root canal for a few different reasons. The most common reason is a cavity that is too deep to fill with a traditional filling because the extent of the decay has gone deep into the tooth entering into the nerve chamber. In this situation, this depth of decay usually comes with pain.
Another reason for a tooth needing a root canal is to allow for support for a crown when little tooth structure is remaining. The nerve is removed, a post is placed in the canal to reinforce the crown that will to be placed over the tooth.
A root canal is also necessary if a patient is in pain. An x-ray will show that an abscess has formed at the root of the tooth and a root canal is the last possible treatment before an extraction becomes the last resort.
Dr. Chen will anesthetize the tooth thoroughly. A small opening is made through the top of the tooth that gives us access to the nerve chamber. The tooth is then cleaned out by removing the nerve and the infection that caused the tooth to need this treatment.. The tooth is then filled with a special filling material sealing it off for any more bacteria being able to enter into the nerve chamber.