Endodontics (Root Canals)
Root canal therapy for the Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs and Trinity area
When decay or damage to a tooth goes beyond the outer part (known as the enamel), to cause infection or inflammation of the inner part (comprised of nerve tissue and blood vessels known as the pulp), a patient may require a procedure known as a root canal.
The Trinity and Palm Harbor dentists of Prestige Dentistry have the experience and expertise to perform most endodontic treatments (root canals).
While root canals are often the ‘fall guy’ of many jokes and horror stories, there’s actually good news if your dentist recommends one…the vast majority of people receiving root canals experience no discomfort at all.
Teeth in humans have one to four root canals, which run the length of the root to the tip. These tiny canals contain the pulp (which is sometimes called the nerve).
From birth throughout a person’s life, the pulp lays down a hard layer, depositing it inside the tooth. This process makes the root canals smaller and smaller as people get older. The pulp not only contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue, it keeps the tooth hydrated and resilient so it can withstand stress and shocks without breaking.
Injuries to the pulp are usually caused by decay which touches the nerve, by trauma, or by frequent dental work to reduce decay. When swelling of the nerve of the pulp causes tightness within the canal, it can cut off oxygen and “food” supplies to the tissue. This can kill the pulp, and cause a great amount of pain.
Unfortunately, nerve fibers may remain alive as the main cell bodies of the nerves themselves live outside of the teeth and may cause chronic pain, especially with cold or hot foods. The inflammation can continue to build and ultimately to become an abscess, which is a serious and painful condition.
So, what is a root canal?
A root canal is a general dentistry procedure which is performed to remove the diseased or damaged tissue and to fill the space with an inert material. Trinity and Palm Harbor dentists Drs. Horwitz, Pielak or Beil will take an x-ray of the affected tooth to refer to during the procedure.
A plastic shield, known as a dam, will isolate the tooth and keep it dry during the procedure. A small hole will be drilled into the area known as the pulp chamber, and the entire pulp and any decay will be removed.
The tooth is then dried and a rubbery material is sealed inside the tooth. At that point, either a temporary or permanent filling will be used to restore the tooth, or to prepare a patient for a dental crown. Teeth which have had root canals may get brittle and crack over time.
After the endodontics procedure, patients may have a little pain or discomfort in the tooth, and your Prestige Dentist may prescribe a pain reliever or over-the-counter pain reliever. Antibiotics my also be prescribed if appropriate to clear up additional infection.
If you or someone you love is experiencing tooth pain, we invite you to learn more about endodontics at Prestige Dentistry. Contact our Palm Harbor or Trinity office today by calling or filling out the form on this page. In our office, receiving a root canal is not as painful as it is made out to be, and root canals may be just what you need to relieve the existing pain if you are in the Tarpon Springs area!