What Is a Root Canal?
It is an endodontic procedure for repairing and restoring a damaged tooth from the inside. The treatment is unique because it targets the inner layers of teeth that have suffered infection, causing dental pain and swelling, among other dental issues. In endodontic dentistry, the goal is to remove damaged soft tissue, clean the pulp and root cavity of a tooth, then fill and seal it to prevent the re-entry of bacteria. A dentist near you can only perform such a procedure on a viable natural tooth that is salvageable. If not, (s)he will recommend a tooth extraction procedure, followed by a tooth replacement treatment protocol.
When Would You Need Endodontic Treatment?
Since a dentist has to vet your tooth to determine whether it is salvageable, it is not always that you are a suitable candidate for an endodontic procedure. One would require such treatment under the following circumstances:
- Cracked, chipped, or broken tooth – as long as the most tooth structure is still intact.
- Severely sensitive tooth – hypersensitivity is an indication that the nerves of your tooth are damaged or likely to be damaged.
- Tooth cavities – if the tooth decay has not significantly compromised your tooth structure, endodontic treatment is a suitable reparative solution for saving it.
- Abscessed tooth – indicates an infection at the tooth root that forms pus in a small pocket at the base of the tooth near the gum line.
- Severe toothache – although most toothaches are due to dental cavities, it is not always the case. Sometimes it may occur after a traumatic dental accident or injury.
What Should You Expect During an Endodontic Procedure?
When restoring your tooth, an endodontist will start by numbing your mouth with local anesthesia. It renders the entire procedure painless. Some patients also need sedation dentistry to remain calm and relaxed through their treatments. After sedation, the dentist drills your tooth to access the inner layers. The next step involves removing all damaged tissue and cleaning the canal. The dentist will also use an antibiotic to kill any remnant bacteria in the cavity. Afterward, (s)he will fill the tooth with gutta-percha, then apply a tooth filling of choice over the tooth. Depending on the size of the tooth filling, this may be the final step of your procedure. However, in some cases, endodontists can recommend placing dental crowns over the treated tooth. The tooth crown holds the entire tooth together, reinforcing its sturdiness.
Do Root Canals Always Need Crowns?
A dentist in Mesa, AZ, will tell you that not all endodontic treatments require dental crowns. Dentists typically recommend them to help reinforce the strength of the tooth structure. Ideally, after such an invasive dental procedure, your natural tooth structure may not be sturdy enough to remain intact for a long time post-treatment.
How Long Can the Endodontic Treatment Last Without a Crown?
Do not be too alarmed if you do not receive a dental crown over your treated tooth. Our dental team at Family Care Dental can sometimes allow you to remain without a tooth crown if you do not need it. Dental crowns are only crucial when the size of the tooth filling over the treated tooth is too large or the structure of your natural tooth is too weak after a root canal. Therefore, without it, your tooth can still be functional for a year or a couple more without any problems. A dental crown increases the life of your natural tooth by at least five years.
Life After Endodontic Dentistry
For the first few days after your endodontic treatment, you need to be cautious about dental care and food choices, whether you got a dental crown or not. Although you can still eat even without a dental crown over your treated tooth, you may need to make several adjustments to your diet. Some of them include:
- Avoid eating hard and crunchy foods that will further weaken your tooth’s structure.
- Avoid sticky foods that can get stuck on the tooth filling, or worse, dislodge them.
- Cut food into small and manageable pieces that will make chewing easier for you.
- Reduce chewing on the side of the treated tooth.