Tony Do D.D.S
8600 Beach Blvd. #105
Buena Park, CA 90620
Office: 714-220-9300
 
   
 

Smile Gallery - Restorations - Root Canal

What is a Root canal, and why would anyone want one?
The term "root canal" conjures terrible images in most people's minds. You keep hearing the horror stories about how much they hurt, or that they didn't work, or that they are expensive. Well, think again! Yes, a few ARE painful and difficult, but for the most part they are the exception rather than the rule. A vast majority go from beginning to end with either no pain (sometimes no shot is needed), or with minimal pain, mostly felt after the patient leaves the office and the anesthesia has worn off.

Why Would You Need Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment is needed for two main reasons: infection or irreversible damage to the pulp. An untreated cavity is a common cause of pulp infection. The decay erodes the enamel and dentin of the tooth until it opens into the root canal system, allowing bacteria to infect the pulp. Infections inside teeth don't respond to antibiotic treatment. The inflammation caused by the infection restricts the tooth's blood supply, so antibiotics in the bloodstream can't reach the infection very well. The reduced blood supply also limits the pulp's ability to heal itself.

The pulp also can become damaged from trauma, a fracture or extensive restorative work, such as several fillings placed over a period of time. Sometimes, a common dental procedure can cause the pulp to become inflamed. For example, preparing a tooth for a crown sometimes leads to the need for root canal treatment.

In many cases, when the pulp is inflamed, but not infected, it will heal and return to normal. Your dentist may want to monitor the tooth to see if this happens before doing root canal treatment. Sometimes, though, the pulp remains inflamed, which can cause pain and may lead to infection.

Once the pulp becomes infected, the infection can affect the bone around the tooth, causing an abscess to form. The goal of root canal treatment is to save the tooth by removing the infected or damaged pulp, treating any infection, and filling the empty canals with an inert material. If root canal treatment is not done, the tooth may have to be extracted.

It is better to keep your natural teeth if at all possible. If a tooth is missing, neighboring teeth can drift out of line and can be overstressed. Keeping your natural teeth also helps you to avoid more expensive and extensive treatments, such as implants or bridges. If an infected or injured tooth that needs root canal treatment is ignored, not only can you lose the tooth, but also the infection can spread to other parts of your body.

Having endodontic treatment on a tooth does not mean that you'll need to have it pulled out in a few years. The reason for doing root canal treatment is often a large cavity. The tooth often is weakened, but if the tooth is covered with a crown after the root canal or, in some cases, restored with tooth-colored composite filling material, the tooth can last the rest of your life.