Below the hard exterior of your tooth is a soft, sensitive material called pulp. A large cavity, cracked tooth or forceful blow to the tooth can damage the pulp and cause inflammation or infection. Root canal therapy is a procedure to eliminate pressure inside the tooth and removed damaged or dead pulp.
Though it is often characterized as being a dreaded or painful procedure, root canal therapy is relatively pain-free and quick. It is often the best way to preserve a natural tooth and prevent future damage to your smile.
If Dr. Pamela Doray determines that a root canal is indicated, she will refer you to a local endodontist (root canal specialist). After the root canal procedure, you will return to our Philadephia dental office and Dr. Doray will restore the tooth with a tooth-colored filling or dental crown.
What is a Root Canal?
Every tooth has at least one root canal, some may have 3 or more. Nerves enter at the tip of a tooth’s root and run through the center of the tooth in a small, thin root chamber. The tiny pathways meet up in the pulp chamber, which contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue.
The term “root canal” is commonly used to describe “root canal therapy” which is the actual procedure that is performed to eliminate infection in the pulp chamber and root canals.
Signs & Symptoms
Most patients don’t realize they have a problem until they experience pain or swelling. Here are a few signs that may indicate the need for root canal therapy:
- Pain or pressure when you bite down, chew or press on the tooth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold for more than a couple seconds
- Swelling near or around the tooth
- Discolored tooth
- Broken tooth
What to Expect During Root Canal Treatment
If you need a root canal, Dr. Doray will plan your treatment and refer you to a local endodontist for the root canal procedure.
Most root canal procedures can be completed in one or two visits with the endodontist.
After the root canal treatment, Dr. Doray will restore your tooth with a filling or crown.
Most teeth that undergo root canal therapy are restored with a dental crown to reinforce their structure and improve their appearance. Dr. Doray is one of the leading cosmetic dentists in Philadelphia. You can be sure that your tooth will be restored to optimal health, function and beauty.
Alternatives to Root Canal Therapy
A tooth extraction is the only alternative to root canal therapy for an infected tooth. The best option is to keep your original teeth whenever possible. The root canal procedure will eliminate pain and allow you to retain your tooth.
If Dr. Doray decides that root canal treatment is not indicated and that a tooth extraction is the best option, she will also help you choose the best tooth replacement treatment. Dr. Doray can restore the missing tooth with a dental bridge or dental implant.
To learn more about root canal therapy and determine if it’s the best option for you, contact our Philadelphia dental office to schedule a visit with Dr. Pamela Doray.