A root canal is the treatment of the dental pulp in order to safely save a diseased or injured tooth. The pulp is the soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue and lies within the tooth extending from the crown to the tip of the root. With an Abscessed Tooth caused by tooth decay or with an injured tooth, the pulp can't repair itself and dies. In both situations germs (bacteria) enter the pulp and can cause an infection inside the tooth. Without treatment, pus builds up at the root tip in the jawbone which can cause damage to the bone around the teeth. Treatment involves one to three visits to the dentist where the diseased pulp is removed and then the pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed. The final step is restoring the tooth with a crown. Your restored tooth could last a lifetime and remain healthy as long as the root(s) of the treated tooth are nourished by the tissues around it.
You may have a very commonly occurring problem in one of your teeth. Teeth may crack when subjected to the stress of chewing hard foods or ice, or by biting on an unexpected hard object. All teeth may exhibit this problem, but teeth restored with typical silver alloy restorations are most susceptible.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS ARE SOME OR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
1) Pain when chewing.
2) Pain with cold air application.
3) Unsolicited pain (usually leakage of sugar into tooth crack).
4) No radiographic evidence of a problem.
5) No dental decay present.
6) Easy verification of crack when tooth is prepared for restoration.
1) SIMPLE CRACK: The majority of cracked teeth (about nine out of ten) can be treated by placement of a crown on the tooth. When the tooth is prepared for the crown, and a temporary restoration is placed, the pain usually leaves immediately. If this is the case with your tooth, we will place the final crown without a problem at your next appointment and the condition should be solved.
2) COMPLEX CRACK: Occasionally (about one in ten) the tooth cracks into the pulp (nerve) of the tooth. If the pain persists after placement of the temporary crown, you may have a crack into the pulp of the affected tooth. Please call us. This tooth may require endodontics (root canal therapy) before the crown is placed. This requires an additional appointment with a dental specialist before the crown is placed.
We hope we've answered your questions regarding the condition of your tooth. If you should have any other concerns please feel free to call our office.