Many people think of root canals as a painful procedure to be feared. But with today’s modern tools and techniques, root canal treatment is a surprisingly comfortable treatment, and one that may preserve your smile by saving an internally damaged tooth. A root canal is necessary when the soft tissues within the tooth are badly infected, and can be the difference between keeping and losing that tooth.
Each tooth has a hollow inner chamber which is filled with soft tissue. This tissue is called pulp, or more commonly the nerve, and does indeed contain the tooth's nerves. Pulp also contains canals that transport blood and nutrients to the tooth root and carry away toxins. The soft tissues of the tooth extend from the tip of each tooth root to the pulp chamber in the main body of the tooth, connecting this living tissue to the rest of your body.
A deep cavity, tooth fracture, or other trauma can damage the pulp's canals, allowing them to become infected. Infection can also spread from diseased gums to the inner portion of the tooth. If this infection is left untreated, it can cause severe pain and, eventually, the loss of the tooth.
Dr. Sander I. White treats early-stage infection with a root canal therapy. This procedure involves cleaning out the infected tissue in the pulp chamber and root canals, and refilling them with a biocompatible substance to prevent future infection. The tooth is then sealed with either a filling or a crown.
Although this is a major dental procedure, it involves minimal discomfort with anesthesia. Many patients are so relaxed during root canal treatment that they doze off, only to awaken with a healthy tooth and a renewed smile. Root canal treatment is often the best way to relieve the pain of an internally damaged tooth. Of course for patients who suffer from dental anxiety, Dr. White is happy to offer sedation dentistry options during your root canal.
Not all tooth damage or tooth pain calls for a root canal. Cavities and other damage which haven't affected the pulp can be addressed with a filling or crown, without removing any of the soft tissue. At the other extreme, a tooth which is too badly damaged to support a root canal may have to be extracted. For this reason, it is always best to catch a problem early. The sooner damage or decay is addressed, the less extensive and invasive the treatment options will be to repair it.
If you are experiencing tooth pain or suspect a tooth may be damaged, call our office to make an appointment, or request one online. Dr. White will discuss with you all your options and help you choose a course of action that is best for you. He is your partner in the quest for a beautiful, healthy smile. Our Broomall office delivers exemplary service and distinctive dental care to residents of Broomall, Philadelphia, Delaware County, and surrounding areas.