Years ago, teeth with diseased or injured pulps were removed. Today, root canal treatment has given dentists a safe way of saving teeth. A tooth consists of the enamel, dentin, and the pulp. This pulp is the soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues. It lies within the tooth and extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the root in the bone of the jaws.
An abscessed (infected) tooth is caused by tooth decay. When the pulp is diseased or injured and can’t repair itself, it dies. The most common cause of pulp death is a cracked tooth or a deep cavity. Both of these problems can let germs (bacteria) enter the pulp. Germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. Left without treatment, pus builds up at the root tip, in the jawbone, forming a “pus pocket” called an abscess. An abscess can cause damage to the bone around the teeth. If the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result. Certain byproducts of the infection can injure your jawbone. Without treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
Root Canal Treatment
The actual pulp removal occurs during root canal treatment and involves from one to three visits. During this treatment, Dr. Emery removes the diseased pulp and the pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed.
Here’s how your tooth is saved through treatment:
- First, an opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber.
- The pulp is then removed. The root canal(s) is cleaned and shaped to a form that can be filled.
- Medications may be put in the pulp chamber and root canal(s) to remove germs and prevent infection.
- A temporary filling will be placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental visits. You might also be given medicine to help control infection that may have spread beyond the tooth.
- The pulp chamber and root canals are filled and sealed.
- In the final step, the crown of the tooth is then restored using either a crown or a filling. The method of coverage Dr. Emery chooses depends upon the amount of natural tooth structure that remains.
Your restored tooth could last a lifetime, if you continue to care for your teeth and gums. However, regular checkups at the Smile Station Dental are necessary. As long as the root(s) of a treated tooth are nourished by the tissues around it, your tooth will remain healthy.