Root Canals Rescuing Waverly Smiles
Here’s a sure bet: anything a friend or colleague tells you about a root canal is false or at least exaggerated. The phrase, “Don’t believe everything you hear” should immediately come to mind. Instead, trust Waverly dentist Dr. Jonathan Smiley. He’ll tell you the truth about a root canal: they are not painful and they are not time consuming. Root canal therapy is intended to preserve a tooth that has been damaged internally due to severe tooth decay or traumatic injury. Without a root canal, tooth extraction may be necessary.
How Does a Tooth Become Infected?
When a tooth is healthy and structurally sound, the bacteria in your mouth are kept out. However, if there is a large untreated cavity, a deeply penetrating crack or another type of traumatic injury, then bacteria can access the internal portion of a tooth, which is called the pulp chamber. This is the nerve center of a tooth. There is also some blood and lymph tissue in the chamber that transport nutrients to the tooth and ferry away toxins.
Once inside the pulp chamber, bacteria begin to multiply and infection begins. As the infection grows, there is inflammation, which leads to the first and most recognizable symptom of an infected tooth: excruciating pain. While this is often the telltale sign that a root canal is necessary, other symptoms include:
- A sore on the gum tissue near the tooth
- Tooth sensitivity when biting down or exposure to hot and cold temperatures
- Swelling on the side of your face
- Pus between the tooth and gum
If you experience any of these symptoms, then it’s time to see Waverly dentist Dr. Smiley. He will take an x-ray of the tooth to confirm infection and then a root canal will be performed.
The Root Canal Procedure
Prior to a root canal, Dr. Smiley anesthetizes the tooth and surrounding tissue. Then, a small access hole is drilled and special files are inserted into the tooth in order to remove all of the infection as well as the natural contents of the pulp chamber and attached root canals. Once the area is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, the chamber and canals are filled with gutta-percha. This natural substance expands to prevent bacteria from reentering the tooth. In addition, gutta-percha helps to strengthen the tooth from the inside, supporting the remaining exterior structure. Lastly, the tooth is sealed and prepared for a dental crown that Dr. Smiley will place once he’s certain the tooth is healthy again.