This post from Neal C. Johnson DMD in Billings looks at one of the difficult decisions that must be made in a dentist’s office from time to time.
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 executing a root canal or to extract the tooth.
There are several factors that influence this decision. 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 a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp of the tooth are removed. 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.
The root canal is the first step in the complete tooth restoration. 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. A durable dental crown protects the remaining tooth, allows normal function, and prevents shifting of the surrounding teeth.
A root canal is frequently the most conservative treatment when a root is infected or a tooth has severe decay or damage. Root canals have 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. A tooth with curved roots are harder 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.
Due to the slight risk of failure, some patients question whether they should just get a tooth implant in the first place. 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 required, ask us about the pros and cons of each procedure. At Neal C. Johnson DMD in Billings we perform root canals and provide dental implants, along with a full range of family dentistry procedures. Schedule an appointment today.
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