In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you’d probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called root canal treatment, your tooth can be saved. Root canals are relatively simple procedures, with little or no discomfort, involving one to three office visits. Best of all, having a root canal when necessary can save your tooth and your smile!

Inside each tooth is the pulp and the nerve. The nerve is the vestige of the tissue that originally formed the tooth. The pulp is a collection of blood vessels that helps to build the surrounding tooth. The pulp can become infected due to trauma, deep decay, cracks and chips. When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but is detrimental to your overall health as well. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.

Teeth that require root canal therapy are not always painful. However, signs you may need a root canal include severe toothache, pain upon chewing or application of pressure, prolonged sensitivity or pain to hot and cold temperatures, a dark discoloration of the tooth, and swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact Dr. Pedersen and Dr. Patel.

Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, Dr. Pedersen, Dr. Patel, or an endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems with the nerves of the teeth) removes the infected tissue. Next, the tissue will be removed and the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth had extensive decay, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.