Root canals are a fairly routine procedure in modern dental offices. Every day there are over 41,000 root canal treatments performed throughout the United States each day. The ability of this treatment to save infected teeth and prevent extractions is essential. There’s nothing as beneficial to lasting oral health as retaining your natural teeth. Teeth needing a root canal than don’t receive one often experience pulp death. The need for the treatment can result from advanced decay, dental trauma, or old fillings causing structural issues for the tooth.
The Purpose Of Receiving A Root Canal And How It Helps Your Teeth
Once the pulp in your tooth becomes infected or dies, it has to be removed. Root canal treatment eliminates this pulp and seals the tooth against future infection. The tooth will be opened, the pulp removed, and the interior disinfected as part of the procedure. This step of the process removes any remaining vectors for infection. Afterward, the interior of the tooth is filled with gutta-percha and sealed with a filling. The filling may be temporary, or a permanent one may be put in place on the first visit. If a temporary was placed, a follow-up would be necessary to replace it.
Complications That Occur With Root Canals
With the use of modern dental technology, root canals rarely experience complications. Lasers, in particular, have made the process faster and less painful. They’ve also reduced the length of time necessary for recovery. The canals in the roots of your teeth can be twisty, with minor extensions that can be easy to miss. When the infection has settled into these side channels, it may not end up getting removed. This can make reinfection possible and retreatment necessary. In some cases, an otherwise successful root canal will become reinfected. This is generally the result of a poorly fit restoration or the aforementioned residual bacteria.
Possible Long-Term Drawbacks of a Root Canal
While uncommon, it has been shown that teeth can become brittle after a root canal. While this can take years to occur, it’s the result of the loss of pulp. This is why it’s common practice to create a strong restoration that goes over the tooth. These restorations are known as crowns and can reinforce the structure of your tooth.
Are There Alternatives To Root Canals?
Despite the potential drawbacks mentioned above, root canals are usually your best bet to save a tooth. Most of the beneficial alternatives involve taking steps to preserve the health of your tooth before a root canal becomes necessary. However, modern dental techniques are exploring the possibility of regenerative endodontics. This process seeks to revive the pulp and stimulate the body to produce more. While current research is promising, this procedure isn’t broadly available.
Want to know what options are available for you? Reach out to your dentist and schedule a consultation. During your visit, you’ll receive a thorough dental exam, including dental imaging. This imaging makes it possible for your dentist to get a comprehensive view of your dental health. Don’t wait until a root canal is necessary; reach out to your dental provider today!