Dentists follow a strict set of care procedures to repair and save teeth damaged by decay. The first step in this process is a restoration, or filling, which removes and repairs decay in the teeth. However, if the damage extends far into the root of the tooth, dentists must perform a root canal in an attempt to save the structure. Otherwise, infection could set in, necessitating the removal of that tooth.
REASONS TO COMPLETE THE PROCEDURE
Dentists look at the severity of tooth decay to determine the extent of the damage. Testing whether the patient can feel temperature variations or tapping also determines if the decay reaches the nerve. Furthermore, if the patient's tooth and gums are discolored, it's likely time for a root canal. Dentists will usually recommend having the procedure performed as soon as possible in an effort to save the tooth before infection sets in.
HOW DENTISTS PERFORM A ROOT CANAL
The root canal procedure consists of filing away the decay inside the dentin and pulp to completely clean the tooth structure. Prior to starting this procedure, dentists numb their patient's mouth with local anesthetic. A drill quickly removes the dentin at the top of the tooth and pulp inside to make way for the canal files. The canal files remove the remainder of the decay deep beneath the gum line. Since there are bundles of nerves around the base of the tooth, dentists work slowly and carefully to avoid disrupting that area too much. A thorough rinse cleans out the removed material from the tooth and readies it for the filling process. To support the outer dentin and enamel, dentists must fill the tooth with a strong compound. Furthermore, it's important to have a permanent crown fitted to provide the tooth with even more strength. Dentists will install a temporary crown over the tooth to give support while the lab creates the permanent one. After patients receive the permanent crown at the dentist office, they can use and care for that tooth without worry about infection or breakage. Contact our Mentor dentist office today for a complimentary consultation.