A “root canal”, or endodontic therapy, is a procedure that is done to save a tooth that would otherwise have to be extracted because the nerve in the center of the tooth is dying or already dead.
The nerves in teeth die due to trauma, cracks, fractures or deep decay. Occasionally, a tooth will die for no apparent reason. When the nerve in a tooth dies, there are usually symptoms of pain with chewing, lingering sensitivity to hot or cold foods or beverages and sometimes swelling of the surrounding gum tissue.
Sometimes there are no symptoms and the only way to know that a tooth is dead is by looking at a radiograph. If you have any of these symptoms, Dr. Beck will do a series of tests to determine if your tooth actually needs a root canal.
After the area is completely anesthetized, a rubber dam is placed and a small access opening is made through the chewing surface of your tooth. Then Dr. Beck will use a series of files to remove the diseased nerve tissue and shape the inner portion of the roots (called canals), which will allow the entire root system to be sealed with a material called gutta-percha. Sealing the root system in this manner helps to prevent future infection and will resolve your symptoms.
After a root canal, most teeth will need a crown to protect the tooth from fracture. Dr. Beck at South Waterfront Dental in Portland Oregon is pleased to offer this service at his practice and he is more than happy to answer any questions you may have about this treatment.