Hello, I am Doctor Ben Jones of Jones Dental. When a tooth’s nerve and pulp becomes infected, a dentist and patient must make a choice of whether to attempt to save the tooth by completing a root canal or to extract the tooth.
There are several factors that impact this determination. These include whether there is an infection in the surrounding bone, the amount and condition of the remaining tooth structure, the strength of the supporting bone, and the presence of periodontitis.
During endodontic treatment, the nerve and pulp of the affected tooth are taken out. This tissue contains veins, arteries, and lymph vessels. The dentist or endodontist uses files of various sizes to clean out the canals. Once the roots are cleaned out and widened, they are filled with a special rubber material that seals them off.
A root canal procedure is just the initial step in the complete tooth restoration process. After the root canal, without a crown, the tooth will probably become dry and brittle. The final steps are the core build-up and crown placement. This protects what’s left of the tooth and allows normal function.
A root canal is often the most conservative treatment when a root is infected or a tooth has extreme decay or damage. Endodontic treatment has a very high success rate.
But there is always a slight possibility that a tooth with a root canal can have complications down the road. If there was a tiny crack in the treated tooth, it can become re-infected. Teeth with curved roots are more difficult to fill and they can also become re-infected. Occasionally, the tip of a file can break off in a root during the procedure and cause problems.
Because of the small risk of failure, some individuals wonder if they should consider a dental implant instead of a root canal. This is not a black and white decision. Like root canals, dental implants have a high success rate. But there are risks with dental implants, as well.
If you have been told that a root canal or a dental implant is needed, talk with your dentist about the pros and cons of each procedure. If you do not currently have a dentist, I invite you to schedule a consultation at Jones Dental. You can count on Ben Jones for critical, unbiased information so you can make an informed decision about your dental treatment.
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