Root Canal Therapy
At Tigard Family Dental, our goal is to help you maintain a beautiful and functional smile. Although sometimes it is inevitable, we try to avoid tooth extractions. To save your tooth from an extraction, we may recommend root canal treatment. A root canal is a common procedure where we remove an infection that has settled deep within the tooth. Contrary to popular opinion, today’s root canals involve little or no pain, thanks to advancements in modern dentistry.
Infected or Damaged Dental Pulp
The pulp is soft tissue within the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. When the pulp becomes infected, serious pain may arise. The most common causes of infection are untreated tooth decay and severe structural damage to the tooth. If the damaged pulp is not removed, the tissues around the root will soon become infected. Even if there is no pain, the infection-causing bacteria can significantly damage the underlying bone. Without proper treatment, your tooth may need to be removed.
Root Canal Procedure
During a routine appointment, Dr. Alexandra Dahm will check to make sure that a root canal treatment is necessary. Once we have set a treatment plan, we can schedule the procedure.
Using a needle, Dr. Alexandra Dahm will administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth. You may feel a slight pinch, but that is about it. Once the area is properly numb, we will place a dental dam, or small rubber sheet, to keep the tooth clean and dry during the procedure.
Then, using very small tools, Dr. Alexandra Dahm will access the inside of the tooth by creating an opening in the bite plane (top portion). Dr. Alexandra Dahm will then clear away the damaged and diseased pulp, and reshape the inner chamber. Next, we will flush out the chamber with an antimicrobial solution, and wash away any remaining pulp. This will kill any lingering bacteria and reduce your risk of future infection.
Once the pulp chamber has been properly emptied, cleaned, and dried, we will fill it using a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Filling the chamber will prevent future infection, and strengthen the structure of the hollow tooth. After the gutta percha is in place, Dr. Alexandra Dahm will close the opening in the tooth with a temporary filling.
After a few weeks, Dr. Alexandra Dahm can finish treatment and place a permanent crown or some other type of restoration. Your tooth may not be capable of supporting a strong bite force on its own, which is why a crown may be necessary.
After the Root Canal Procedure
It is important to take good care of your teeth and gums after a root canal. You may also need to schedule an additional appointment, so we can check on the treated tooth to make sure all signs of the infection are gone. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day with an ADA approved toothpaste. We also recommend an antibacterial mouthwash to eliminate bacteria and flush away food debris. With the proper care and attention, a tooth with a root canal filling can last for many years.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are experiencing any tooth pain or would like to schedule a checkup, call (971) 762-1262 today!