Endodontic treatment – better known as root canal therapy – is a treatment for teeth with abscessed, infected or dying nerve tissues. Unlike fillings that patch up small areas of decay, a root canal extends into the canal down the root of the tooth, where more aggressive infections are a concern.
Symptoms of Nerve Damage
How can you tell if you need a root canal? Although you may not be aware of any deep cracks or cavities, you can probably spot common warning signs like
- Inability to sleep (due to pain)
- Swelling on the gums
- Pain when eating
- Drainage coming from the gum tissues
- An odd taste in your mouth
- Heat sensitivity
Dr. George Okoro will need to take an X-ray of the tooth to evaluate the entire root structure. If there is an abscess, there will typically be a dark area along the tip of the root. Decay that reaches into the nerve chamber is another sign that the tissues have been compromised by infection. If the nerve chamber is involved, a root canal will be the only option for treating your tooth.
Preserving Your Tooth
An abscessed tooth can be preserved as long as the infection or decay hasn’t reached an extremely aggressive stage. Through root canal therapy and a crown, you can retain your tooth for several more years. Otherwise, the only remaining option is to have your tooth extracted. If you were to cover the tooth with a filling or crown without treating the nerve, it would trap the bacteria inside and lead to ongoing pain.
Although your tooth is no longer vital, we will still want to anesthetize it to prevent any discomfort during your treatment. We’ll also place a rubber down around the tooth to isolate it and make the treatment more efficient. Dr. Okoro will remove all of the decayed areas and then access the nerve chamber. Once the tissues are removed, the canal is slightly widened and medicated. After it is completely cleaned out, we will fill the canal with gutta-percha (a plastic-type of filling material) to seal it off and prevent reinfection.
Our office is equipped with endodontic rotary technology, which expedites your root canal and makes the experience much quicker. In some cases, a post may also be required to reinforce the tooth for a crown.
You’ll take medication for a few days and then return a week later for us to re-assess everything. At the final visit, a protective crown is placed over the tooth to distribute biting pressure. The crown reduces the risk of the remaining tooth structure from crumbling during everyday use.
Yes. Usually, most dental insurance plans cover root canal therapy. Even if the treatment might cost a bit more out of pocket compared to an extraction, it prevents you from having to turn around and place a dental implant, bridge or partial denture in that space. We can provide you with an estimated breakdown of your coverage before beginning any type of treatment so that you know what to expect.
As an in-network provider, we accept all PPO insurance plans and offer flexible payment options. Easily budget your endodontic treatment each month without having to delay your care.
Dental crowns (caps) cover the entire surface of a tooth up to the gumlines. If you have a tooth that’s structurally compromised, it cannot withstand normal everyday use. Simple biting and chewing would cause the remaining enamel to deteriorate and break apart. When you have a root canal treated tooth, the overall structure is no longer alive. This condition means it’s more prone to breakage unless the visible portion is reinforced.
A dental crown will cover, strengthen and preserve root canal treated teeth. Following the crown placement, you’re free to eat like normal. There’s no need to avoid chewing on that side of your mouth. But without one, the long-term success of your endodontic therapy would be drastically reduced.
Endodontic Therapy Consultations
Whether you think you need a root canal or simply want a second opinion, we’re happy to assist you. Our honest approach to care will help put your mind at ease. Come co-plan your care with us! Contact our Largo office today to reserve an appointment.
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