A root canal is the best treatment to repair an infected tooth. When your tooth’s dental pulp, which is the soft inside layer of the tooth, becomes damaged or infected, the only way to treat the infection is to remove the infected pulp from the tooth.
This can be caused by dental trauma, untreated tooth decay, an old filling falling out, or other instances where your tooth’s root is exposed to bacteria. By removing the infected pulp, removing bacteria from the canals, and refilling the tooth, this process is 95% effective at treating tooth infections. If you have a toothache in Baltimore, get help from an experienced dentist like Dr. Amanda Hurley.
Root canal re treatment has just as high of a success rate as an initial root canal treatment.
First, our Baltimore dentist Dr. Hurley will need to examine your tooth or take x-rays to look at the extent of the infection. If it can be saved with a root canal, we will proceed but if not, the tooth may need to be extracted.
After numbing your mouth, we will drill a hole into the tooth to gain access to the pulp chamber. Here, the infected pulp and tooth’s roots are removed.
Each canal inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized to remove any remnants of bacteria. The canals are then shaped with special files.
The inside of the tooth is filled with a latex gutta-percha material and then the tooth is sealed with a permanent filling. Sometimes a crown is also cemented on top of the tooth if it’s significantly weakened.
Root canals performed in the front teeth are less time-consuming and require less anesthetic because of the thinness of the tooth. A dental crown is usually not necessary since these teeth aren’t used for grinding or chewing. There is a difference in the way we access the pulp chamber in the front teeth. We need to make an opening from the lingual side of the tooth (facing the tongue).
A posterior root canal is performed on the back teeth. More anesthetic is usually necessary because of the thickness of the molars. These teeth also contain up to 4 canals and are likely to take much longer to thoroughly clean and shape these canals.
This could take multiple appointments, in which case a temporary filling would be placed in between cleanings. Access to the pulp chamber in the anterior teeth is made through the chewing surface. A dental crown is usually necessary to prevent the molars from becoming damaged or broken from chewing or teeth grinding.
Fluoride treatments are easy to add to any routine preventive visit, and are great for helping keep dental decay at bay. After your cleaning, your dentist will apply a fluoride-rich varnish or gel to your teeth, and leave it in place for several minutes before rinsing it away. Fluoride helps to strengthen your enamel through a process called “remineralization,” which works by attracting minerals like calcium and phosphates to your teeth, helping to restore their hardness and increase their resistance to acids.
Dental sealants are most commonly recommended for children who may be high-risk for tooth decay, but they’re also a great option for patients of any age who wish to protect themselves from developing cavities. A relatively straight-forward procedure, dental sealants start with the application of dental resin, usually to the rear teeth, as they have more grooves and uneven surfaces where plaque and bacteria can easily hide. A UV light will be used to cure the resin, hardening it and creating a powerful barrier between your enamel and food debris, acid, or bacteria. When applied correctly, dental sealants can last for years!
Don’t eat until the anesthetic has worn off and avoid hard and sticky foods for the 24 hours.
No, you don’t have to worry about a root canal causing you any pain. Your mouth will be completely numbed by a local anesthetic. While you make feel some pressure from dental tools working around your tooth, you won’t feel discomfort. We can also use additional sedation to make you feel at ease during your appointment.
What alternatives to a root canal are available will depend on the specific condition of your tooth. In some cases, a pulpotomy may be performed but this is typically only successful in baby teeth and is only suitable when the infection is only present in the crown of the tooth. Most often, the only alternative to a root canal is an extraction. However, that carries with it many more consequences.
If you don’t get a root canal to treat a tooth infection, it will continue to spread to other teeth or worse, spread through the bloodstream. This can become serious if the infection spreads to your brain or if you get sepsis, which can be fatal. Instead of getting a root canal, you can have the tooth removed, but without replacing the tooth, you will suffer from irreversible bone loss, changes to your face, and shifting teeth.
A posterior root canal usually takes longer than an anterior root canal.