Root canal treatment is a form of endodontic therapy designed to save a compromised tooth from extraction and offer relief from discomfort. When left untreated, dental infection can result in more widespread decay and complications such as tooth loss. However, root canal therapy can restore the integrity of your tooth and renew your dental function. During treatment, our team at Harrison Dental Group in Fort Wayne, IN, can remove diseased tissue, thoroughly clean the tooth, and place a custom restoration to strengthen and protect your smile. We also offer sedation to ensure your comfort throughout treatment.
To ensure your comfort, we offer stronger forms or sedation, including oral conscious sedation and nitrous oxide.
Understanding the Anatomy of a Tooth
To understand the progression of a dental infection, you must be familiar with the structure of teeth. Our teeth have several layers:
- Enamel: Enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth. It is highly mineralized and designed to withstand constant bite force. However, enamel is susceptible to plaque and tartar, which can result in erosion and lead to cavities.
- Dentin: Directly beneath the enamel is dentin. It provides added support for your tooth and protects the innermost pulp chamber. When a cavity penetrates this layer, patients often experience a higher level of sensitivity.
- Pulp Chamber: Located in the center of the tooth, this area contains tissue, nerves, blood vessels, and the root canals. The pulp chamber and canals provide vital nutrients to each portion of your tooth.
When the enamel or dentin is compromised, a tooth can generally be repaired with a dental filling or crown. However, once decay or damage penetrates the inner chamber, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.
When is a Root Canal Necessary?
During your consultation, we can examine your smile to determine whether you require root canal treatment. We can also take advanced digital x-rays for a more detailed view of your teeth. You may be a candidate if you are experiencing:
- Dental sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Severe toothache
- Darkening of the tooth or dental discoloration
- Swelling and tenderness of the gums
- Swelling on the face or neck
Sometimes, there are no visible symptoms of a dental infection. As a result, it is important to visit your dentist for a biannual checkup to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy.
What to Expect during Treatment
Root canal therapy typically requires two office visits. Treatment involves:
- Administering anesthesia: To ensure your comfort, we can numb the tooth with a local anesthetic. When necessary, we offer stronger forms or sedation, including oral conscious sedation and nitrous oxide.
- Cleaning the root canals:Your doctor can create a small opening to access the inner portion of the tooth. He can then use a small file to carefully remove diseased tissue, before thoroughly cleaning the canals.
- Filling the tooth: Your doctor can fill the pulp chamber and root canals with a rubber-like material known as gutta percha. He can then place a temporary filling for added comfort and security while you await your final restoration.
- Placing your restoration: Once your dental crown is ready, your doctor can remove the temporary restoration and check to ensure your final restoration fits comfortably in your bite. If satisfied, he can bond the crown in place, revealing your newly functional smile.
We can provide you with instructions as to how to care for your tooth and prolong the longevity of your smile. When properly cared for, a tooth saved by root canal can remain healthy for a lifetime.
Schedule Your Consultation
If you are currently experiencing dental pain and discomfort that has persisted for several days, you may need root canal treatment. Our team at Harrison Dental Group is dedicated to your oral health and can take the time to evaluate your needs and goals before recommending the appropriate treatment. Please contact our office online to schedule your consultation. You can also call our West Jefferson office at (260) 432-3588 or our Winchester office at (260) 747-4747.