What does it mean when your dentist tells you that one of your teeth needs root canal therapy?
Also called endodontic therapy, this treatment is a sequence of painless steps meant to eliminate infection and protect the tooth from future bacterial infection.
Dr. Beck usually recommends this procedure after performing a number of tests and determining that a tooth is very sensitive to cold, hot, or biting. Many times, however, the treatment may be necessary in the absence of symptoms. There are a number of problems that may lead to a need for root canal therapy, including deep decay, a crack or complete fracture of the tooth, an abscess or infection at the root of the tooth, etc.
The root canal procedure involves removing the nerve and pulp tissue from the inside of the tooth and the roots, followed by the cleaning, shaping, decontamination, and filling with a polymer called gutta percha. This is usually split up into two or three appointments to allow medication placed in the tooth after the first appointment a chance to reduce inflammation and bacterial infection inside the tooth.
When the root canal therapy is complete, it’s often recommended that the tooth be protected with a crown to prevent future fracture, especially in back teeth. Dr. Beck at Mt. Tabor Dental in Portland, Oregon is pleased to offer root canal therapy at his practice and he can answer any questions you may have about this treatment.