Getting to the Root of the Issue
Tooth decay is the second most common disease in the world, behind the common cold. Sometimes when the decay has progressed too far into the pulp space (middle part of a tooth), the live tissues become infected and inflamed. The tooth may become painful and swollen when the bone and surrounding tissue are infected. Root canal therapy would then be required to preserve the tooth.
Root canal therapy, which is also known as endodontic treatment, is a process that aims to restore a diseased, abscess and/or painful tooth. Without intervention, the tooth will decay beyond repair and will require extraction to avoid further damage.
To ensure patients will not feel the root canal procedure at all, local anesthetic will be used. After the procedure is completed, there may be some mild to moderate discomfort for a few days, which can be helped with analgesics like Advil or Tylenol.
The first step of root canal therapy is to remove any decayed and damaged tooth enamel and dentin. Then the diseased tissue and cells inside the pulp and roots (premolars and molars usually have multiple roots) will be cleared away.
Once the tooth is cleared of all diseased tissue and cells, the pulp and roots will be disinfected and filled with a resin. The rest of the tooth will be filled with a white composite resin filling to restore its original shape and function. Normally a tooth that requires root canal therapy has lost significant tooth material, so a crown is usually needed to protect the tooth from fracture and splitting.
Dr. Wong will talk with you about root canal therapy if he thinks your tooth can be saved using this technique.