Root canal therapy (RCT) is done when the nerve and blood vessels in a tooth are dying or have already died. RCT is the process of removing the necrotic tissue inside a tooth to prevent the body from recognizing it as dead and foreign. RCT then fills the space that was cleaned and shaped by the dentist with a material that the body accepts, and antibiotics are often given to destroy any residual infection.
Teeth that have undergone RCT become very fragile and break easily. It is strongly recommended that a crown be placed on that tooth within a month of the completion of the RCT to prevent the need for extraction of the treated tooth (which is also costly and kills your effort of saving your tooth in the first place).
The symptoms of a tooth needing a root canal include: sensitivity to hot food and drink, high to the bite, throbbing pain (especially when lying down), swelling, and a ‘pimple’ in the gums near the dying tooth.
A tooth may need a root canal after the tooth has had several dental restorations over the tooth’s life and it simply has had enough and dies. Also, a tooth may be severely injured during an accident or trauma to the mouth. Some teeth may die with no apparent symptoms, but the tooth becomes darker in color than the other teeth (usually seen in front teeth).
Dr.Tess at Pearly Whites Laser Dentistry employs the use of lasers during RCT because lasers disinfect and clean out the inner chambers of a tooth better than the bleach that is used by dentists that do not use lasers. She has actually completed RCT on several or her patients without a Novocain shot because there was no pain from infection.
Now, let’s look at Cracked Tooth Syndrome:
If you experience tooth pain when you bite on something, you may have “Cracked Tooth Syndrome” (CTS), which is, just as it sounds, a crack in the surface of the tooth. CTS can be pinpointed and diagnosed by the dentist through a process where the patients bites down on an instrument that can isolate which part of the tooth is cracked.
Pretend your tooth is a drinking glass and the drinking glass has a crack in it. A drinking glass with a crack cannot be fixed; the only option is to replace it. A root canal will not fix a tooth with a crack in it, nor will a crown. However, there are many dentists that recommend a crown or root canal, or both, to “fix” tooth cracks. Once this process is complete, the patient has spent a lot of money, and the problem is still not fixed. When this happens, the patient is left in pain, and usually quite understandably upset. When it comes to CTS, an implant is the best way to go. For more information, please see our page on Implants.
Contact Pearly Whites Laser Dentistry to help you decide what treatment is best for you!