Posts for tag: Root Canal
It’s often best health-wise to preserve even the most troubled tooth—including a child’s primary (“baby”) tooth. If that sounds like too much effort for a tooth that lasts only a few years, there’s a big reason why—if it’s lost prematurely, the incoming permanent tooth above it could erupt out of position.
Preserving a decayed primary tooth could include procedures similar to a root canal treatment, commonly used in adult permanent teeth with inner decay. However, we may need to modify this approach to protect the primary tooth’s pulp. This innermost layer plays a critical role in early dental development.
Because an adult tooth has reached maturity, removing diseased pulp tissue has little effect on its permanent health. But the pulp contributes to dentin growth (the layer between it and the outer enamel) in primary and young permanent teeth, so removing it could ultimately compromise the tooth’s long-term health.
Our goal then with a child’s tooth is to remove as much diseased tissue as possible while involving the pulp as little as possible. What techniques we use will depend on how much of the pulp has become infected.
For example, if decay has advanced to but hasn’t yet penetrated the pulp, we may remove all but a small amount of the decayed structure just next to the pulp to avoid its exposure. We may then apply an antibacterial agent to this remaining portion and seal the tooth to curb further infection.
If on the other hand the pulp has become infected, we may try to remove only the infected portion and leave the remaining pulp intact. We’ll only be able to do this, however, if we deem the remaining pulp healthy enough to remain infection-free after the procedure. If not, we may need to remove the entire pulp as with a traditional root canal. This option, though, is a last resort due to the possible effect on dentin growth and the tooth’s long-term health.
As you can see attempts to preserve a primary tooth can be quite involved. But if we can help it reach its full life span, it could mean better dental health for a lifetime.
If you would like more information on caring for primary teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment for Children’s Teeth.”
A few warning signs usually occur before trouble strikes. Your refrigerator makes strange clunking sounds weeks before it breaks down, or the water in the kitchen sink looks rusty before the pipe begins to leak. Your teeth may also send you a few signals that something's not quite right. The warning signs may occur if you need a root canal, a procedure used to treat inflammations and infections in your tooth pulp. Our Norwich, CT, dentist, Dr. Edward Yates, helps patients keep their smiles in good condition with root canals and other dental treatments.
What are root canals?
Root canals are used to remove the pulp in the center of your tooth. Your tooth is thoroughly cleaned after the pulp is removed, including the narrow root canals that extend from the top of your tooth into the roots. Although the bulk of the therapy is completed in the first visit, you'll need to return to your Norwich dentist's office about a week later to replace your temporary filling with a permanent one. Root canals are performed using local anesthetics to ensure that pain isn't an issue.
Do I need a root canal?
If you need a root canal, you may notice a few of these symptoms:
- A Toothache: Pain in a tooth can be severe if you have an inflammation or infection, but that's not always the case. The pain may be nothing more than an annoyance in the early stages. Whether your pain is mild or severe, it's always a good idea to visit the dentist to determine if your symptoms are caused by a cavity, an inflammation, infection, loose filling, or another issue.
- Pain at Mealtimes: Have you noticed that your pain gets worse when you eat or drink hot or cold foods or beverages? Pain that occurs with meals can be a sign that you need a root canal. Eating can also be an unpleasant experience if chewing increases your pain.
- Changes in Your Mouth: You may notice that your tooth or gum looks a little different if you need a root canal. Darkening of your tooth or a swollen, red gum can be root canal warning signs.
- Dental Abscess Symptoms: Pain accompanied by a fever may be a sign that you have a dental abscess. The bacterial infection can also cause facial swelling, a bump on your gum or swollen lymph nodes. Abscesses require immediate treatment with antibiotics and a root canal.
Protect your smile with root canal therapy. Call our Norwich, CT, dentist, Dr. Yates, at (860) 889-6445 to schedule your appointment.