If you have a deep infection or inflammation that impacts the pulp — the soft tissue inside your tooth’s root canal — you might need a root canal treatment. This severe type of infection can occur if you have deep decay, a broken or chipped tooth, or if your tooth has already been through several dental procedures.
Trauma might also cause pulp damage, even if your tooth appears to be healthy and intact. If you don’t have the infection or inflammation treated with a root canal, you risk having an abscess and could ultimately lose the tooth.
The most common complaint is severe tooth pain when you bite or chew. But you might have other symptoms as well, including:
In some cases, patients don’t have any symptoms and the infection or inflammation is detected during a routine exam. Because dental issues can linger well below your gumline, it’s essential to have routine dental exams and cleanings two times per year, or as recommended by Dr. Kaplan.
Dr. Kaplan begins by making an opening in the tooth, removing the nerve and the surrounding tissue, and shaping the canals. During this procedure, he rinses the tooth with different solutions to destroy any lingering bacteria. If the treatment isn’t done in one visit, the tooth is then filled with a temporary filling. Medication is placed inside the tooth that works between visits, and then the temporary filling is placed on top.
During the second step, he flushes the root surface with a new irrigant designed to remove small crystals. This also disinfects the canal space and walls of your tooth. The new irrigant destroys a different class of bacteria than the first one. Dr. Kaplan also uses ultrasonic energy to help the solutions penetrate into your tooth, so the entire area is disinfected. Usually the root canal is completed during this second visit, unless the tooth is still infected.
After the root canal is finished, you’ll then be referred back to your general dentist for the appropriate restoration. Sometimes a simple filling is adequate, but sometimes a crown is needed. Ultimately, this tooth will function just like all of your other teeth, so you won’t even know it’s there.
After your root canal, Dr. Kaplan’s staff will call you to make sure that you’re doing well, and to answer any post-procedure questions. They also offer free periodic follow-up visits for up to two years, to make sure that there’s no infection or any other problems.
Losing a tooth should always be the absolute last resort. When you have a tooth extracted other teeth may shift, causing your bite to get misaligned. Plus, you risk losing bone tissue, which can put other teeth at risk as you age.
By having a root canal and preserving the tooth, you’re more likely to have efficient and painless chewing. Preserving your tooth also keeps your smile looking natural, allows for normal speech, protects surrounding teeth from excessive wear and tear, and allows for normal biting pressure.
Today, dentists have the ability to replace extracted teeth with titanium screws surgically drilled into the jawbone, replacing the natural tooth root. In some cases, this would be the treatment of choice, but the staff at Steven D. Kaplan, DMD believes that the best implant is your natural tooth. That’s why they make every effort to save your tooth.
Today, many endodontists perform root canals in only one visit, regardless of the situation’s complexity. Dr. Kaplan can do that if your tooth is amenable to that, but that’s not his standard for success. In fact, a good dentist cares more about the treatment than the time, while a mediocre dentist cares more about the time than the treatment. Dr. Kaplan never rushes a root canal: He believes that the quality of his work must be perfect, no matter how long it takes to ensure that your tooth lasts a lifetime.
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