Posts for tag: root canal
During this year's baseball spring training, Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton got into a row with a steak dinner—and the beefsteak got the better of it. During his meal, the Gold Glove winner cracked a tooth.
Fortunately, he didn't lose it. Buxton's dentist rescued the tooth with a dental procedure that's been around for over a century—a root canal treatment. The dependable root canal is responsible for saving millions of teeth each year.
Dentists turn to root canal treatments for a number of reasons: a permanent tooth's roots are dissolving (a condition called resorption); chronic inflammation of the innermost tooth pulp due to repeated fillings; or a fractured or cracked tooth, like Buxton's, in which the pulp becomes exposed to bacteria.
One of the biggest reasons, though, is advanced tooth decay. Triggered by acid, a by-product of bacteria, a tooth's enamel softens and erodes, allowing decay into the underlying dentin. In its initial stages, we can often treat decay with a filling. But if the decay continues to advance, it can infect the pulp and root canals and eventually reach the bone.
Decay of this magnitude seriously jeopardizes a tooth's survival. But we can still stop it before that point with a root canal. The basic procedure is fairly straightforward. We begin first by drilling a small hole into the tooth to access the inner pulp and root canals. Using special instruments, we then remove all of the infected tissue within the tooth.
After disinfecting the now empty spaces and reshaping the root canals, we fill the tooth with a rubber-like substance called gutta percha. This, along with filling the access hole, seals the tooth's interior from future infection. In most cases, we'll return sometime later and bond a life-like crown to the tooth (as Buxton's dentist did for him) for added protection and support.
You would think such a procedure would get its own ticker tape parade. Unfortunately, there's a cultural apprehension that root canals are painful. But here's the truth—because your tooth and surrounding gums are numbed by local anesthesia, a root canal procedure doesn't hurt. Actually, if your tooth has been throbbing from tooth decay's attack on its nerves, a root canal treatment will alleviate that pain.
After some time on the disabled list, Buxton was back in the lineup in time to hit his longest homer to date at 456 feet on the Twins' Opening Day. You may not have that kind of moment after a root canal, but repairing a bothersome tooth with this important procedure will certainly get you back on your feet again.
If you would like more information about root canal therapy, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment.”
Tooth-saving root canals help you keep your smile intact. Clifton, NJ, dentist Dr. Toan Bui describes the root canal process and shares a few signs and symptoms that may occur if you need root canal therapy.
Getting to the root of the problem
Root canals are necessary when your tooth pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The pulp forms the soft core of a tooth and is made up of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. Living with an inflamed or infected tooth can be very uncomfortable. If the pulp isn't removed during root canal therapy, pain will intensify, and you may be more likely to develop an abscess, a serious bacterial infection. Eventually, there may be no other choice but to remove the tooth.
Fortunately, root canals can help you avoid tooth loss. Root canal therapy involves removing the pulp and thoroughly cleaning the inside of the tooth and the narrow canals that extend into your roots. A durable, rubber-based filling seals and protects the tooth. In many cases, you'll also need a crown after your treatment, as your treated tooth will be a little more fragile.
Common signs and symptoms that may mean you need a root canal
A root canal may be necessary if you experience chronic pain in a tooth. Because tooth pain may have several causes, it's important to schedule an appointment with your dentist in our Clifton, NJ, office when you first experience a toothache. An inflammation or infection in your pulp can cause increased sensitivity in teeth. Chewing can be particularly painful, and you may soon avoid chewing on the affected side of your mouth. Indulging in a sugary, hot or cold food or beverage is a bad idea when you need a root canal. Even a small sip or bite can cause pain that lasts up to a half-hour.
Your infection or inflammation can cause a few obvious symptoms. If you take a look in your mouth, you may notice that the gum around the tooth is red or swollen. In some cases, a tooth that needs a root canal may darken.
Swelling on one side of your jaw isn't uncommon if you develop an abscess. In addition to a swollen face, you may also experience a fever, swollen lymph nodes, pus around your tooth and severe, throbbing pain. Let us know immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. An abscess is a dental emergency and must be treated as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the infection.
Do you have any of these symptoms? Call Clifton, NJ, dentist Dr. Toan Bui at (973) 458-9899 to schedule an appointment.
If you regularly participate in sports or other physical activity, you’re at a higher risk for dental injuries. While chipped teeth are the most common result of these injuries, a few may result in more serious trauma — dislodged, cracked or knocked out teeth. In these cases, the core of the tooth — the pulp — and the root may have been damaged. Saving the tooth may require endodontic treatment and possibly the expertise of a specialist in the field, an endodontist.
Endodontics, from the Greek words for “within” and “tooth,” is a specialty of dentistry that treats disease or damage affecting the inner parts of a tooth, particularly the pulp chamber, the root canals, and the root. While all dentists are trained in endodontic procedures, an endodontist has advanced training, experience and specialized equipment to address complex cases.
The type of endodontic treatment needed for an injured tooth will depend on the extent of damage. A mature, permanent tooth with pulp damage, for example, may require a root canal treatment. In this procedure the pulp chamber and root canals are thoroughly cleaned out, and then are filled with a special filling to prevent any future infection. Later the tooth should be crowned to permanently seal it. Although a general dentist may perform a root canal, more complex cases, such as a tooth with an extensive root canal network, may need to be performed by an endodontist using microscopic equipment.
A tooth that has undergone severe trauma, especially a knocked out tooth, will need extensive follow-up care by a general dentist and possibly an endodontist to improve its chances of long-term survival. Because of the severity, the tooth may lose viability and the body ultimately may begin to reject it. For this reason, the tooth should be monitored on a regular basis and may need further treatment from time to time, even up to five years after the injury.
One final word: if you participate in sports or exercise activity, you can significantly reduce your risk of dental injury with a mouthguard. There are various types, but the best protection is one custom designed to fit the specific contours of your mouth. We’ll be glad to advise you further on how to protect your teeth from injury.
If you would like more information on dental injury prevention and treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth.”