Endodontics: Root Canal Procedure
Endodontics is a specialty of dentistry that is concerned with treating tooth decay. When s tooth is severely decayed, the cavity digs through to the root of the tooth. This is what causes toothaches. Most patients will realize they need endodontics near them when they experience severe toothaches.
What Happens During the Root Canal Procedure?
In the course of root canal treatment in Katy, TX, you will learn that the tooth is made up of different parts. The external parts of the tooth are usually the enamel and the dentin. However, the life of a tooth is supported inside the pulp chamber. The pulp chamber is a soft area in the root canal of every tooth that houses the blood vessels and nerve endings to keep the tooth alive.
When you experience a toothache, it is usually because the infection of the decay has extended to the pulp chamber, triggering the nerve endings to experience pain. The infection starts making way from the enamel all through to the root of the tooth. At this point, a root canal dentist will clean out the tooth in preparation for root canal therapy.
After cleaning to get rid of the infection, your dentist will remove the nerves from the pulp chamber. The nerves are the main reason you experience pain in your tooth. A Katy dentist will not have any issues removing the nerves in a decayed tooth of an adult. Ideally, the nerve of a tooth is not a vitally necessary element for the function and health of the tooth. Once a tooth is mature, it can survive without the nerves. The only function of nerves for a mature tooth is sensory for hot and cold foods.
Why Does the Pulp of the Tooth Need to Be Removed?
When decaying gets to the center of your tooth, it increases the sensitivity of that tooth. The pain can be as severe as to hold you back from eating, and sometimes talking. What happens is that the infection continues to build bad bacteria in the tooth. With time the bacteria cause abscesses.
An abscess is a pocket that forms on the root of an infected tooth. The pocket is filled with pus as a result of the multiplication of bacteria in the tooth. If not treated, this abscess continues to grow, causing pain and discomfort. Other than abscess build-up, other issues that result from an infected pulp include:
- Swelling – inflammation is a response of the immune system to pain and infection. A patient may have swelling on the side of the face, housing the decayed tooth. The swelling can spread to other areas, including the neck.
- Increased sensitivity – the sensation of teeth to hot and cold foods should not be too much. However, with such an infection, patients may have a hard time taking any foods that are too cold or hot.
- Headaches – if you are experiencing a migraine headache following a toothache, it could be as a result of the pulp being infected.
- Bad breath – a decayed tooth holds a lot of bacteria and residue. This infection can cause one to have bad breath, despite efforts of brushing their teeth.
- Bone loss – if you let the decay go on for too long, you could start experiencing bone loss. Usually, it is around the root area of the infected tooth. For some patients, they could even lose the tooth.
What to Expect During a Root Canal
- The procedure may be performed by a regular dentist of an endodontist. This often depends on the severity of the decay.
- An x-ray is necessary to get a clear picture of the tooth’s structure. It will help your dentist find out where the bone around the tooth is affected by the infection.
- Local anesthesia is used in root canal therapy. This helps minimize pain and discomfort by numbing the area.
- A hole has to be drilled into the affected tooth. The hole is called an access hole. It creates an entrance to your tooth to allow for the removal of the infection.
- Root canal files are the devices used to clean up the tooth. They are placed into the access hole at the same time and used to scrape off any debris, decayed nerve tissue and bacteria from the tooth. After the cleaning, the tooth is sealed permanently.