Root canals can be a “life saving” procedure for a tooth that has become severely decayed, infected or damaged. Root canals, when appropriate, avoid tooth loss and the many dental health challenges that arise afterwards, including replacement.
At West Ashley Family Dentistry in Charleston, Dr. James Dickert and Dr. Agatha Lynn will recommend root canals over tooth extraction whenever possible to save a natural tooth and the long term integrity of your smile.
Why do I need Root Canal Therapy?
A root canal procedure is necessary when the inner-most part of the tooth, the pulp, becomes infected. This can cause so much pain for a patient and is hard to ignore or continue on with normal daily activities. The only way to relieve the pain is to remove the infected pulp or extract the tooth. The sheer mention of a root canal can cause anxiety in many patients. The advances in technique and materials have transformed this procedure, causing no more discomfort than a dental filling in most cases. If you have been suffering with intense or throbbing pain, the root canal will relieve your symptoms almost immediately. It is a routine treatment that will remove the decayed tissue from the root canal of the tooth leaving most of the tooth intact. An infected tooth should be treated as soon as possible to avoid the need for a tooth extraction.
Root Canal What to Expect
Dr. Dickert and Dr. Lynn offer sedation dentistry for patients who suffer with dental anxiety or those preferring to be completely relaxed during the procedure. It is necessary to let us treat the infected tooth as soon as possible to avoid an extraction. We offer nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas,” to help the patient relax so that we are able to treat the tooth. Laughing gas will not put the patient to sleep but will put them in a deep state of relaxation. It is administered through a small mask that is put over the nose.
The Root Canal Procedure
The root canal procedure is typically completed in one visit to our Charleston dentist office. The process will begin with ensuring that you are completely comfortable and relaxed. We will administer local anesthetic to completely numb the area around the tooth.
The first step is to create a tiny hole on the back of the affected tooth to gain access to the pulp chamber. Using specialized tools, the infected tissue will be removed by your dentist and the tooth interior pulp chamber will be cleaned to avoid future infection.
The interior of the tooth will be filled with a biocompatible material called gutta percha that will serve to maintain the structural integrity of the tooth. The tooth will then be sealed.
In many cases, the placement of a dental crown on the affected tooth is recommended. This will strengthen the tooth and improve the longevity of your result. You will have to return to our office for the final placement of your dental crown. The crown will be custom fit and color matched to blend in naturally with the rest of your smile.