Posts for tag: root canal treatment
Although tooth enamel is incredibly strong, it can become damaged by decay, trauma or infection. Fortunately, if this occurs, the dentists here at Dr. George Salem and Associates, PC, in Braintree, MA, can treat the issue with root canal therapy—read on to learn more about how this method can protect your oral health!
What is the purpose of a root canal?
When bacteria enters a tooth, it often adversely affect the health of the dental pulp, the soft inner-structure that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The dental pulp is instrumental in the development of a tooth; however, once the tooth has fully matured, the pulp is no longer important to dental health. Therefore, if bacteria infects or irritates the pulp, a root canal can remove the pulp to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Along with removing the dental pulp, the purpose of the root canal is to preserve as much of the natural tooth as possible. While you might assume that it’s just easier to have the tooth removed and replaced, this is far more time consuming, expensive, and uncomfortable than simply undergoing a root canal to save the tooth. Whenever possible, it’s always best to save your natural teeth instead of pulling them.
When is a root canal performed?
Your dentist may recommend root canal therapy if you are dealing with,
- A cracked, broken, or fractured tooth
- A severely decayed tooth
- Traumatic injury or direct impact to the tooth (which can also affect the health of the pulp)
What are the signs that I might need a root canal?
Some people may not even experience symptoms of an infected or inflamed dental pulp. Keeping up with your six-month checkups, regardless of whether you notice problems or not, is important for the whole family. Of course, you should also turn to your dentist in Braintree, MA, for immediate care if you experience:
- A severe and persistent toothache
- Pain when chewing, biting, or applying pressure to the affected tooth
- Increased or sudden lingering sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
- Red, swollen, and tender gums surrounding the tooth
- Darkening of a tooth
- Bad breath
- An abscess (a pimple-like bump that develops on the gums)
Concerned? Give us a call
No matter whether you are noticing a toothache or if it’s just time to get a routine dental checkup, our Braintree, MA, dental team can help you receive the care you need. If you suspect that you might need a root canal. call us right away at (781) 843-0660.
Teeth can take a lot of force over a lifetime of biting and chewing, thanks to enamel, their outer layer made of the strongest substance in the human body. Unfortunately, they’re not invincible: it’s even possible for you to break or “fracture” a tooth while biting or chewing normally.
Although such a fracture might seem to occur out of the blue, it’s usually related to a condition known as cracked tooth syndrome. It usually occurs in three stages: in the first, miniscule cracks in the outer enamel known as craze lines develop. They’re not immediately dangerous since they only involve the enamel surface; but left untreated they could deepen and progress to the next stage, a larger crack that penetrates the tooth’s underlying dentin.
If allowed to grow, this crack in turn can lead to the third stage, a full fracture that could extend down to the root. A fracture can put the tooth in danger of loss, especially if its inner pulp becomes exposed. To avoid this worst case, it’s best to treat the tooth at the earliest stage possible when craze lines are just developing.
There is a difficulty, though, with detecting craze lines — they’re small, too small to detect normally with x-rays. We, therefore, rely on other methods such as using an instrument called an explorer to feel for cracks, having the patient bite on a stick or rubber pad to replicate pain symptoms or using fiber-optic lighting with special dye stains to highlight possible cracks. Endodontists, specialists in root canals, can use microscopic equipment that’s quite adept at detecting craze lines.
There are also some signs you can be on alert for that might indicate a craze line or crack. If you feel a short, sharp pain — a “wince” — when chewing and releasing food, you could have a crack that hasn’t yet affected the nerves. If a true fracture occurs, the pain will intensify and you may notice pieces of the tooth coming off. If the crack extends to the root, the pain will become greater and more chronic.
It’s important then that you see us for any recurring pain symptoms as soon as possible. If it’s a crack, the sooner it’s treated the better your tooth’s chances for survival.
If you would like more information on cracked tooth syndrome, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cracked Tooth Syndrome.”