“My tooth is damaged down to the root. Is a root canal necessary?”
So your dentist recommended a root canal for your damaged tooth and you’re wondering if that’s the best treatment–you’ve come to the right place! The most helpful information you need to make this decision is an explanation of what a root canal entails, and you might also like to hear your other options.
A root canal is typically a procedure done by an endodontist, a dentist that treats the inside of a tooth. When you have an injury that damages the root of your tooth, the soft tissue inside your tooth is likely also damaged. Damage to the soft tissue also results from decay or cracks in the tooth. A root canal includes the removal of the inflamed soft tissue from the inside of the tooth, creating a practically hollow space inside the tooth that is later filled and sealed. The final step in a root canal is the placement of a crown, usually done by your general dentist in the weeks directly following your initial root canal or root canals. One of the benefits of choosing a root canal over other treatment plans is that you keep your tooth. The other side of this coin is that because the tooth is not removed, there’s a chance that the root canal won’t be 100% effective–in other words, there’s a chance that not all of the inflamed tissue will be extracted. If tissue is still left inside the tooth even after it’s been sealed off, an infection could still occur. Additionally crowns often need a repair or replacement years down the road, even if you take good care of them.
A newly preferred method of treatment in some cases of root damage is going straight to an implant. (For a detailed description of how implants work, read this!) What you need to know about an implant is that your tooth is completely removed, but you get a brand new sturdy replacement. Once the original tooth is removed, a natural-looking artificial tooth is stabilized on top of a anchor that sits directly in your jawbone. With an implant your root is completely replaced, and the chance of re-inflammation is dramatically reduced. The artificial tooth is much stronger than the crown you’d receive as the second step to your root canal, and it functions just like a normal tooth.
Determining whether a root canal is the right procedure for you is a conversation that’s best had directly with your dentist. Dr. Carter is familiar with both root canals and implants as treatment options for damaged teeth, and she may even recommend a different fix depending on your specific case. Dr. Carter works with a team of oral surgeons and endodontists to ensure the best care for your mouth and specializes her treatment plans for each individual. With an oral injury, it’s in your best interest to take care of it as soon as possible to avoid an infection or a further injury. Dr. Carter’s office is happy to schedule an emergency appointment if necessary–check out our contact page for more information on scheduling your visit!