Root canal is usually a tooth’s last chance, one final opportunity to save a tooth that has become infected and inflamed.
It is the clearest illustration of what the best dentists routinely do — focus on root causes. Although root canals will never be pleasant, experienced San Jose, Los Gatos and Campbell dentist Dr. Ashwini Bhave uses the most advanced techniques to shorten the duration and lessen the discomfort of this tooth-saving procedure.
Your mouth has a way of alerting you to the consequences of poor dental hygiene — pain. Unfortunately this reliable warning system sounds the alarm at very late stages, when dramatic action will be needed to preserve your tooth. The extreme pain you feel is a result of decay that has progressed to the point that it has reached the interior of the tooth, where the resulting infection has inflamed the sensitive inner nerve. Less frequently, the nerve signals pain after a crack, trauma or even a loosening of an existing crown has exposed the interior to bacteria from the outside.
When these conditions are left untreated, pressure builds in the tooth and the nerve slowly dies. A serious complication known as an abscess may develop, adding complexity and a new level of pain to your condition. In addition to pain, the tooth will telegraph its distress by swelling in adjacent areas of the gums, changes in jaw motion, sensitivity to high or low temperatures, or even a change in the color of the tooth.
A root canal can save your tooth by removing the entire interior: blood vessels, lymph tissue and especially the nerve. Dr. Bhave drills deeply into the tooth to effect this removal and clean out the interior chamber, then filling it with either resin or a strong composite material called gutta-percha. Successful root canals require a dentist to clean the entire length of the root, using an apex locator.
Another precise tool known as a “heat gun” is used to harden the composite after it has expanded to fill the now-disinfected tooth chamber. The chamber is sealed by the application of a crown to the surface, which will provide an air-tight barrier to future intrusion of air and bacteria. Alternately, a permanent or temporary filling may also be used.
To learn more about root canals, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bhave at her San Jose office by calling or emailing Bay Area Dental Specialists today.