What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form. If you have pain or another concern with your teeth, Dr. Giraldo will examine them and likely take an X-ray. The X-ray will reveal if there is any significant decay, infection, or an abscess indicating a root canal would be necessary. If so, Dr. Giraldo will begin the procedure by performing a pulpotomy and most likely prescribing the patient an antibiotic.
Why Would I Need a Root Canal?
If you are experiencing tooth pain, it may be that one or more of the canals in your tooth are infected with bacteria. Each tooth has one to four canals which pulp and nerves occupy as well as blood vessels. Depending on your dental health, these can become infected and destroy tooth pulp and nerves. If so, Dr. Giraldo will need to perform a root canal procedure to clean out the infected material.
What Is the Procedure for a Root Canal?
After a local anesthetic or sedation, Dr. Giraldo will drill a hole in the top of your tooth in order to reach the pulp and the tooth nerves. The blood vessels provide nourishment and oxygen to the living pulp. However, if the pulp tissue is infected, she will have to drill through the top of the tooth and clean out the infected material which usually involves both pulp and nerves. Once a hole is drilled, Dr. Giraldo will use a very fine file to clean the inside of each root canal which is infected. After ensuring that each infected canal is clean (which may involve a series of X-rays), Dr. Giraldo will fill the canal(s) and hole with an inert filler and cap the tooth with a temporary crown. Dr. Giraldo will then make a mold of your tooth in order for a dental laboratory to fabricate a crown.
How Common Are Root Canal Procedures?
Root canal procedures are very common. One of the most prevalent dental conditions is deep infection of a tooth which requires more than just a simple cleaning and filling. Since the tooth roots are involved, there can be considerable pain involved and, if left untreated, the infection will remain and eventually destroy the tooth, which then will need to be extracted.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Root Canal Procedure?
The need for a root canal procedure needs to be determined in consultation with Dr. Giraldo. It is primarily through X-rays that Dr. Giraldo can tell what may be going on under the surface of the tooth and gum. Most often, the X-ray will clearly show whether an infection has invaded the tooth, damaged it (or the gum) and if a root canal procedure is indicated.
How Does a Root Canal Compare with Other Dental Options?
A root canal procedure involves quite a bit more time than, for example, a cavity filling. Dr. Giraldo must clean every infected canal and check and recheck that it is absolutely clean of any infected material. Multiple X-rays may be required to ensure that Dr. Giraldo has reached the bottom of the canal and that it is clean. After the procedure, the tooth must be capped with a crown to ensure its integrity.