Endodontics (Root Canal)

Historically, a tooth with a diseased nerve would be removed immediately, but dentists are now able to save the natural tooth in most cases.  A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes 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 the infection is caught early enough, the procedure is generally painless and can be completed in one visit.

“Root canal” is the term used to describe the natural cavity within the center of the tooth. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal. The tooth’s nerve lies within the root canal. A tooth’s nerve is not vitally important to a tooth’s health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.

Reasons for endodontic treatment

Bacterial infections – Oral bacteria is the most common cause of endodontic problems. Bacteria invade the tooth pulp through tiny fissures in the teeth caused by tooth decay or injury.

Fractures and chips – When a large part of the surface or crown of the tooth has become completely detached, root canal therapy may be required.

Injuries – Injuries to the teeth can be caused by a direct or indirect blow to the mouth area.

Root Canal Treatment

Once a tooth has had a root canal, the access hole made during the procedure has to be filled. If the hole is small enough, this can be done with a white bonded filling. If a large portion of the tooth structure is missing, the tooth needs to be secured with a porcelain crown or “cap”. Dr. Nguyen has advanced training in root canal therapy and the restorative procedures to complete these procedures all in one location.

Possible Signs and symptoms of Endodontic problems:

  • Inflammation and tenderness in the gums.
  • Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold foods.
  • Tenderness when chewing and biting.
  • Tooth discoloration.
  • Unexplained pain in the nearby lymph nodes.