Root Canal Therapy

If you are experiencing hot or cold sensitivity that “sends you through the roof”, then you may have an exposed nerve in your tooth. This can happen from decay going deep into the tooth, or from trauma either from constant wear and tear on the tooth or from biting on something that breaks the tooth.  Steven Markow, DDS and David A. Daniel, DDS are dentists who treat root canals in teeth at their Randallstown, Maryland office. 

The first thing most people think of when they hear the words “root canal” is the cartoons of dentists with the patient grabbing the chair handles or being pulled off the ceiling. Fortunately for you, those scenarios are a thing of the past. Modern techniques and local anesthetic procedures have made getting a root canal about as little discomfort as one might expect from having a filling done.

So, what exactly is a root canal?

If the decay or trauma from an accident expose the inside of the tooth, root canal therapy is usually indicated. The inside of the tooth has a pulp chamber where the nerves and blood supply live. If it gets infected, it usually swells up and becomes hyper sensitive to hot and cold and pressure After some time, the nerve dies and the infection could spread to the rest of the body or into the surrounding areas. Drilling a small entry into the pulp chamber allows us to clean out the infection and the remaining nerve and blood supply and put in a medicated sealer. This protects the tooth as well as the surrounding area.

How is the therapy done?

Typically, the tooth is numbed, and a protective rubber dam is placed to isolate the area to limit infection and prevent small files or debris from getting elsewhere in the mouth. Local anesthetic is used to numb the area and a small hole drilled into the top of the tooth through the crown. Once we expose the nerve, we use small files to clean out the nerve and then clean it and fill with a material called gutta percha. This is a rubbery medicated sealer that blocks off the infection and seals up the tooth.

It is common after a root canal is done, to place some type of build-up inside the pulp chamber to strengthen the inside of the tooth. Then a crown is frequently placed over that to protect the tooth from becoming brittle and fracturing.

What are my alternatives to root canals?

Doing an extraction and dental implant is one option. If the tooth is a wisdom tooth, you may not want to go forward trying to save a tooth that will have little return on investment. In general, it will usually be best to attempt to try to save a tooth with this treatment therapy rather than lose a tooth – which should be the last option.

Call us today if you are experiencing pain on a tooth and would like a complimentary consultation on what your options are.