Healthy teeth are alive. Each has 1-3 “canals”, which contain nerves that send pain sensations to the brain. Blood from the bloodstream moves to and from the center of each tooth. This is a sealed system unless normally-occurring bacteria from the mouth sneak in. Most often, this occurs when a tooth forms a cavity (decay) or an existing filling is faulty. If the problem isn’t detected early, the bacteria reach the nerve of the tooth. This process is invisible, until the bacteria are well established, when it shows up as a “dark spot” on an x-ray. Sometimes, patients will begin to be sensitive to cold temperature or sweets during this time. Other times, they have a bad taste in their mouth. Many times, they feel nothing until chronic pain sets in and a large infection exists. Then, they want to see a dentist immediately. Some go to the hospital Emergency Room for relief, but dentists are not part of their staff.
Dentists are trained to remove the infected nerve and all these bacteria. There’s even a dental specialist, called an Endodontist, who handles complicated infections in teeth! Using miniature, barbed files, they scour the inside of each canal and then use a special solution to flush the infection away. Once the infection is removed, each canal is filled with a rubbery material that fills the area which once had blood flow and nerves. The tooth remains in place, functioning as it used to but with no more pain. But some teeth become brittle when they lose blood flow, so the dentist may recommend a metal crown (often covered with tooth-colored material) to protect the part of the tooth used for chewing, just so it doesn’t break in the future."
Patients are asked to take an antibiotic for a brief period after a root canal, to minimize the risk of another infection.
We can help arrest your Root Canal Treatment and bring your smile back to health. Give us a call today at (773) 582-0035.