Your own natural tooth is meant to last a lifetime. Even if your tooth becomes infected or injured it can be saved with root canal treatment (endodontics). And with proper support your root canal treated tooth can last just as long as if it had never been damaged in the first place.
Endodontic Therapy is the term describing the treatment to remove infection from the inside of the root of the tooth.
Once the infection is removed, the space is filled with materials that seal off the root canal space, preventing any leakage and allowing the tooth and surrounding bone to heal in an infection free environment.
How do you know if you need a Root Canal?
You may need to have a root canal done if you are experiencing some of the following symptoms:
- Pain when you chew or bite
- Lingering sensitivity/pain to hot or cold temperatures
- A “bubble” on the gums that might appear and disappear
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Radiographic Evidence- if the bone around your tooth is deteriorating from an infection we can see it on x-ray. Sometimes the nerve of the tooth deteriorates because of an old sports or automobile injury and appears decades later- on x-ray.
Schedule an appointment with our Tewksbury root canal experts today!
During the Appointment
Current techniques have allowed us to reduce the number of appointments needed to complete root canal treatment (one appointment is the ‘new normal’). With proper administration of local anesthetics we are able to keep you as comfortable as if you were having a simple filling. So if you are looking for root canal treatment in the Greater Boston communities of Andover, Billerica, Chelmsford, and Wilmington, Massachusetts.
After the Root Canal
Once the infection has been successfully treated we almost always recommend that the tooth be protected with a crown. After all, an infected tooth has lost its blood supply and would become more brittle without the crown placed over it. Properly reinforced and protected we expect your root-canal treated tooth to function normally.
Parts of the Tooth
Your tooth has two basic parts: the crown is the part you see above the gum, and the roots which anchor your tooth to your jawbone. Inside the crown and roots is soft tissue (pulp) that brings nerves and a blood supply to the tooth to keep it healthy.
A healthy tooth has a layer of enamel covering a layer of dentin. Together they protect the underlying nerves and blood supply from bacterial infection.
Inside the tooth the canals of the root house the pulp (blood supply and nerves) that nourishes the tooth. The blood vessels carry nutrients to the tooth, and the nerves give feeling to the tooth. The pulp tissue enters and exists through openings at the root tips.
What happens if the pulp gets injured?
Sometimes the pulp is injured beyond its ability to repair itself. The most common cause of pulp death is a deep cavity or a cracked tooth. Bacteria invade and destroy the pulp and often spread from the pulp into the surrounding bone.
Will the tooth heal by itself?
Unfortunately, it can’t. In other areas of the body, blood rushes in and cleans out the infection. The pulp is inaccessible- so when it dies the body cannot heal it.
If I take antibiotics will the infection heal?
Antibiotics kill bacteria in the bone around the tooth… and often the bone pain will diminish or temporarily disappear. However, the antibiotic cannot reach up inside the pulp because the opening is so small… And the source of the infection remains. It’s kind of like watching someone cleaning spilled milk off the floor instead of uprighting the tipped bottle. Only mechanical cleaning out the infection inside the tooth (root canal treatment) will clean the source of the infection.
What is the alternative treatment?
In rare cases, if a root canal cannot be successfully completed, the tooth has to be extracted and an implant ‘root’ placed.
Why do I need a Crown or a Post?
Without a nerve supply your tooth would get more brittle. Weakened and brittle teeth can fracture more easily. Therefore we reinforce the tooth with a bonded supporting post covered by a crown… to protect the repaired tooth from future breakage.
Is Root Canal Therapy Safe?
Root canal treatment has been practiced for over 70 years, and is a safe and recognized specialty by the American Dental Association. Our Tewksbury root canal experts can discuss safety during a dental exam or consultation.
More importantly, medical studies have clearly shown that circulating bacteria in the bloodstream go to all organs- heart, kidneys, liver, etc. It’s much safer to remove all infections- and root canal therapy cleans the infection from your teeth and allows your bodies natural defenses to heal the bone around the teeth by removing the source of the infection. Its better for your health to do the root canal therapy to remove the infection.