Teeth are unique to other parts of the body for many reasons – one of those reasons being the fact that a tooth cannot self-heal. Once a tooth is badly damaged, patients are at risk for losing the tooth along with developing painful, dangerous infections, called abscesses. At Beautiful Dentistry, Dr. Heap and our team help our patients achieve and maintain comfortable oral function by providing restorative and endodontic services. Endodontic therapy, such as root canal treatment, repairs damage to the inside of a tooth, restores oral function, and preserves as much natural tooth structure as possible.
Root canal therapy is a specific form of treatment that addresses internal damage and infection to a tooth. This highly successful procedure literally saves teeth from developing abscesses as well as the need for surgical extraction. An endodontic procedure, root canal therapy involves removing the infected tissue inside a tooth, cleaning it and sealing it. In many cases, root canal treatment may be followed with a restoration such as a filling, dental crown, onlay or inlay.
The Root Canal
The root canal houses the endings of nerves and cellular matter called dental pulp. This part of the tooth is a chamber-like area inside the roots. In a healthy tooth, the root canal is not exposed to oral bacteria and debris; however, if a tooth is cracked, chipped or badly decayed, bacteria and debris in the mouth can migrate to the inside of a tooth. When the nerve endings and dental pulp are exposed to bacteria and irritants, the risk of infection is high. Infected nerve endings are painful, too. An internally infected tooth that goes untreated can have devastating consequences on a patient’s oral health and wellbeing. Untreated infections can spread to the gums and bone while killing the nerves and blood vessels inside a tooth.
How Root Canal Therapy Works
Using small and precise dental tools, Dr. Heap will access the root canal to remove the infected nerve and dental pulp. This process is important for alleviating discomfort and improving oral function. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and sealed to prevent further damage. This treatment prevents the infection from affecting neighboring tissue and from the need for extraction. When performing root canal therapy, Dr. Heap will use anesthetics and medication, if necessary, to ensure a comfortable, positive experience for our guests.