Posts for tag: root canal
Root canals often get a bum rap. Although the procedure saves millions of teeth every year, it's often erroneously portrayed as an unpleasant experience. And if that wasn't enough, a long-discredited medical theory has found new life on the internet asserting root canals are a health danger.
First off, root canals play an immensely important role in treating teeth with advanced decay. If not promptly treated, a cavity can turn into a major infection of the interior tooth pulp and root canals, and ultimately the supporting bone. Teeth with this level of decay are not long for this world.
A root canal treatment stops this disease process in its tracks. After numbing the tooth and surrounding gums, we drill a small hole into the tooth's interior and then remove all of the infected tissue within the pulp and root canals. After disinfecting these areas, we fill them with a rubber-like substance called gutta percha.
After sealing off the access hole—and later capping the tooth with a life-like crown—the tooth is secure from further decay. And, by the way, the procedure doesn't hurt, thanks to local anesthesia. If anything, any pain caused by the decay attacking the tooth's nerves has now been alleviated.
So, what about the idea floating on the Web that root canals are dangerous? The "root" for this conjecture is a theory by Weston Price, an early 20th Century dentist, that leaving a "dead" body part in the body leads to various health problems (including cancer). That would include a root-canaled tooth, which has had the living tissue in the pulp removed.
There's just one problem—Weston's theory was fully investigated in the 1950s and overwhelmingly discredited. The supposed cancer threat was also reviewed in a 2013 study, which found no link between root canals and increased cancer risk. In fact, dental patients who had undergone several root canals had a diminished risk.
Like all other health procedures, root canals have some risks of complication. But those complications are far from life-threatening—it's tooth-saving benefits are often worth the risk. So, fear not if your dentist says you need a root canal. It won't hurt and it won't endanger your health—and it could save your tooth.
If you would like more information on root canal therapy, 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 “Root Canal Safety.”
If you have a toothache that will simply not go away you may already dread the words: root canal. From a young age, we are all taught to fear the procedure, sometimes subliminally by the media, we consume, sometimes less so. But if there is just one thing you take away from this, it's that you should not ignore tooth pain. Even if it doesn't warrant a root canal, pain is usually a sign that something has already gone wrong, and it won't improve without treatment. So to learn more contact your local Gillette, WY, dentist Dr. Daniel Morrison of Gillette Dental PC.
Anatomy of a Toothache
A tooth is protected by a hard outer shell, it is made out of the hardest substance in your whole body, enamel.
Beneath it is a more porous layer, but which makes up the majority of your tooth, which is called dentin. This encases the soft center of your tooth, the pulp, which is made of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue.
If you have ever seen a tooth on its own you will notice the long stems beneath what is actually visible above the gumline. This is what we call the root of the tooth, and along the root, the pulp connects through small canals inside it to the rest of your mouth and your body.
Hopefully, a picture is beginning to develop in your mind, as well as the reason for the origin of the term, root canal.
The problem starts when the enamel on your tooth is breached, either by trauma or decay. Although it is a very hard and tough substance enamel is still capable of breaking with enough force. After that, even a chip exposes the inside of your tooth to decay.
Speaking of decay, the bacteria in our mouths, in the form of plaque, can produce acids that over time will wear away the enamel and so infection can take hold.
If allowed to progress, this infection can cause a lot of pain, can threaten your tooth, and your whole mouth, and possibly your health altogether.
Root Canal in Gillette, WY
A root canal treatment removes the infected parts of the tooth along with the pulp, eliminating it all the way down through the canals down the root. One of the goals of the procedure is pain relief, so although you may experience some discomfort for a few days after, you will be sedated throughout and the whole experience is usually no different than having a large cavity filled.
Don't delay your relief any longer, make an appointment with Dr. Morrison of Gillette Dental PC in Gillette, WY, by dialing (307) 682-3353.
Remembered fondly by fans as the wacky but loveable Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Alfonso Ribeiro is currently in his fifth year hosting America's Funniest Videos. It's the perfect gig for the 48-year-old actor, who loves to laugh and make others laugh as well. This is quite the opposite experience from one he had a few years ago that he remembers all too well: a severely decayed tooth.
After seeing his dentist for an intense toothache, Ribeiro learned he had advanced tooth decay and would need root canal treatment. Ribeiro wasn't thrilled by the news. Like many of us, he thought the procedure would be unpleasant. But he found afterward that not only was the root canal painless, his toothache had vanished.
More importantly, the root canal treatment saved his tooth, as it has for millions of others over the last century. If you're facing a situation similar to Alfonso Ribeiro's, here's a quick look at the procedure that could rescue your endangered tooth.
Getting ready. In preparation for root canal therapy, the tooth and surrounding gums are numbed, often first with a swab of local anesthesia to deaden the surface area in preparation for the injection of the main anesthesia below the surface. A dental dam is then placed to isolate the infected tooth from its neighbors to prevent cross-contamination.
Accessing the interior. To get to the infection, a small access hole is drilled. The location depends on the tooth: in larger back teeth, a hole is drilled through the biting surface, and in front teeth, a hole is drilled on the backside. This access allows us to insert special tools to accomplish the next steps in the procedure.
Cleaning, shaping and filling. Small tools are used to remove the diseased tissue from the interior tooth pulp and root canals. Then the empty spaces are disinfected. This, in effect, stops the infection. Next, the root canals inside the tooth are shaped to allow them to better accept a special filling called gutta percha. The access hole is then sealed to further protect the tooth from future infection, and a temporary crown is placed.
A new crown to boot. Within a couple weeks, we'll cap the tooth with a long-lasting lifelike crown (or a filling on certain teeth). This adds further protection for the tooth against infection, helps strengthen the tooth's structure, and restores the tooth's appearance.
Without this procedure, the chances of a tooth surviving this level of advanced decay are very slim. But undergoing a root canal, as Alfonso Ribeiro did, can give your tooth a real fighting chance.
If you would like more information about root canal treatments, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: How Long Will It Last?”