Severe decay can ruin a tooth and lead to extraction. However, there are instances where the decay has reached the nerve of the tooth causing infection, but the tooth is still salvageable though essentially dead. Once the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth are so compromised, there are two options – extraction or root canal therapy.
Extraction is inevitable under some circumstances. If the tooth is so severely damaged that there is not enough natural tooth to save, extraction is the only solution. On the other hand, if there is enough healthy tooth structure left, root canal therapy can save the tooth.
Same-Day Root Canal Therapy
In the past, root canal therapy could take several days to perform. With advanced technology and state-of-the-art instruments, today’s RCT can be completed in one visit to the dentist. In general, the process is the same as before, but techniques have changed to speed up the process.
Once a tooth has been diagnosed as infected, the decayed portion is completely removed. Next, the roots of the tooth are cleaned out. In anterior teeth there is usually only one root. Molars can have three to four, sometimes even five roots. Each one is thoroughly cleansed of necrotic debris and sanitized.
After the roots are cleansed, they are filled with an inert material which seals them off so bacteria can no longer enter the canal. An appropriate filling material is then placed in the remainder of the tooth.
When the pulp of the tooth has been attacked by decay, the tooth is essentially dead. The nerve tissue and blood vessels of the tooth are no longer viable, and they do not regenerate. Because of this, a tooth that has undergone RCT can become brittle and vulnerable to breakage because it is no longer receiving nourishment from the blood vessels. For this reason, a crown is placed on the tooth.
The crown provides protection, stability and strength for the tooth. Without the crown, over time, the tooth will lose some of its integrity and could break under the pressure of chewing and grinding food. With the crown, the tooth is able to withstand the everyday pressures applied to it.
At Precision Digital Dentistry, we are committed to helping patients preserve their natural teeth if at all possible. Contact us if you have an infected tooth or other dental needs that should be addressed.