What Is Root Canal Treatment?
Root canals are small passages that branch from beneath the top of your tooth downward and out the tip of the root and deep into your jaw bone. Many tooth problems involve infections that have spread from the inner part, or pulp, of your tooth and as the infection worsens it can begin affecting the roots of your teeth. As the infection affects the living pulp in the tooth, it begins to swell, and in the confined area of a tooth this causes significant pressure and pain. The spreading of infection can cause small pockets of pus to form, which we describe as an abscessed tooth. You might see these abscesses along your gums and the pus may leak out of the tooth into your mouth causing a foul taste or odor.
We can save these teeth with the initiation of root canal or endodontic treatment. This involves treatment of the canals using a special cleaning process to remove the damaged tissue. Once the damaged tissue is removed, the tooth is filled with supportive material then topped with a dental crown to protect it.
Studies show that root canal therapy has a success rate over 95%. Teeth treated with a root canal and covered with a crown look and function just like a natural tooth and can remain healthy and functional for decades with proper care and maintenance.
Gentler Root Canal Treatment
Dr. Kendall and Dr. Fox have been specially trained to provide the highest level of care in root canal treatments. Now, in addition to the finest training, we are proud to announce that we are also using the Fotana Lightwalker Dental Laser during your care to gently and quickly clean and disinfect your treated tooth with the patented PIPS (photon-induced photo-acoustic streaming) technology. This additional level of care is a superior way to clean and treat infected teeth while providing a more comfortable and gentler solution than traditional means. We are proud that Excellence In Dentistry is one of the few practices in Alaska to offer this level of care.
While this makes treatment even gentler, we have to mention that the reputation of root canal treatment as a painful procedure often comes from the time before we had reliable dental anesthesia.
However, if you’re still anxious about discomfort related to root canal or endodontic treatment, sedation dentistry can help and will allow you to be calm and relaxed during your procedure. We offer several levels of sedation, from N2O, or laughing gas, to IV sedation which provides a much heavier sedation that can help people with extreme forms of anxiety.
Root Canal Alternatives
In general, an infected tooth should be treated, as infection can spread from the tooth, leading to sepsis (a blood infection) or even a brain infection, both of which can be deadly. But sometimes the tooth needs to be extracted instead of treated. Once the tooth is extracted, you can choose whether to replace it with a dental implant, a dental bridge, or a partial denture.