Root Canal Therapy in Buffalo, NY
Dedicated Buffalo Dentist Providing Affordable Root Canal Therapy Throughout WNY
Root canals are an example of endodontics, which is the discipline within the field of dentistry that focuses on oral hygiene from within the teeth themselves. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp of a tooth becomes infected, which can only occur when bacteria has penetrated both the sturdy enamel and the softer dentin, the outer and middle layers of the tooth. Decay from a lack of brushing and flossing can allow bacteria to infect the pulp, but cracking and chipping due to injuries can also provide an opportunity. Once the pulp is infected, the only way to save the tooth is through root canal therapy, a procedure that has a high success rate and can preserve your smile.
There are several telltale signs that one of your teeth has become infected. Unusual sensitivity, particularly to cold or heat, can suggest that there has been a weakening of the enamel, and pain in the gum or the tooth itself can accompany this discomfort. There may also be a change in color in the tooth or the gum below. An abscess, which is a pus-filled swelling on the gum, is a clear hint that an infection has occurred, and purulent drainage (the seeping of pus into the mouth) can occur. Swelling and tenderness may even occur in the submandibular and submental lymph nodes, which are found on the underside of the chin and the lower jaw. Once an infection has permeated the tooth and spread to the pulp and the gums, a root canal offers the best chance at stopping the bacteria in their tracks.
The idea of a root canal treatment may be intimidating, but your dentist will recommend one only if it is in the best interest of your dental health. Because it is a common operation, all endodontists are qualified to perform root canal therapy, and it can usually be completed in a single visit. If your dentist detects a pulpal infection, he or she will collaborate with an endodontist to ensure that you receive necessary treatment. The endodontist will examine your teeth and take an X-ray to determine the extent of the infection and how best to treat the condition.
If a root canal is required to save the tooth, the procedure can begin almost immediately. Your endodontist will first anesthetize the infected area and insert a dental dam in order to shield your tooth from buildup of saliva. Then, an incision will be made in the top of the tooth, after which the infected pulp and nerve can be removed. The interior of the tooth is then cleaned, antibiotic medication is applied, and the tooth is filled with latex derived from the gutta-percha plant. Cement derived from zinc oxide is placed over the incision into the tooth, which will temporarily protect the tooth from further infection. A few weeks after your root canal treatment, your dentist will install a crown or a similar device at a later date in order to restore the tooth to its original shape, size, and color.
If you have questions or think you may require a root canal, please contact our Buffalo dental office and schedule an appointment today.