Endodontic treatment, commonly known as root canal treatment, is a dental procedure performed to treat a tooth when the dental pulp, which contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue, becomes infected or damaged.
At Ragan Family Dentistry, our dentist performs endodontic treatments to save teeth from being extracted and alleviate pain or discomfort caused by infection or inflammation within the pulp. The most common reasons for requiring endodontic treatment include severe tooth decay, deep cavities, tooth fractures, trauma to the tooth, repeated dental procedures on the same tooth, or gum disease. If left untreated, an infected tooth can lead to an abscess, further pain, and potential tooth loss.
Why Do I Need Endodontic Treatment?
Infected or Inflamed Pulp
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes infected or inflamed due to deep decay, fractures or cracks, repeated dental procedures, or trauma. The infection can cause severe tooth pain, sensitivity to temperature, swelling, and even abscess formation.
Decay Reaching the Pulp
If tooth decay extends deep into the tooth, it can reach the pulp. When this happens, the bacteria in the decayed area can infect the pulp, leading to inflammation and infection.
Cracked or Fractured Tooth
A crack or fracture in a tooth can provide a pathway for bacteria to enter the pulp. Cracks can occur due to trauma, biting on hard objects, or weakening of the tooth structure over time. Endodontic treatment helps save the tooth by removing the damaged pulp and sealing the crack to prevent further infection.
The Procedure for Endodontic Treatment
Our dentist will first administer local anesthesia to numb the tooth and surrounding tissue. Then, they will create a small opening in the tooth to access the root canal system. X-rays will be utilized to determine the length of the canals and determine if there is any infection within the root.
The infected or damaged pulp will be removed, and the inside of the tooth will be thoroughly disinfected. Once the canal is clean, our dentist will fill the canal with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Finally, a temporary filling will be placed to close the opening in the tooth. Following the procedure, you may be prescribed an antibiotic to treat or prevent an infection.
Most patients experience little to no discomfort following endodontic treatment. However, some patients report minor pain that can usually be managed with an over-the-counter analgesic like ibuprofen or aspirin.
Endodontic treatment has a high success rate and can often preserve a natural tooth, avoiding the need for extraction and subsequent tooth replacement options like dental implants or bridges. To learn more, visit Ragan Family Dentistry at 201 S 3rd St., McAlester, OK 74501, or call (918) 426-9900.