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Lighthouse Dental Care
88 Ryders Lane, Stratford, CT 06614

What is a root canal?Root canal procedure

Human teeth are the hardest part of the human body. They are even harder than the bones. However, on the inside they are hollow and filled with a soft spongy layer (dentin) and tooth pulp.

To put it as simply as possible, a root canal is actually a canal inside the tooth that contains the nerves. These are the nerves that send the signals to the brain and blood vessels that carry nutrients to the dental pulp. When the dental pulp becomes irreversibly damaged due to neglected oral hygiene, then root canal treatment is needed. The front teeth have one root each while the molars, premolars and canines may have two, three or four roots.

How does a root canal get damaged?

Our mouth is always filled with bacteria and other microbes. While the enamel (which is the outer layer) and the dentin (which is the middle layer) provide protection to the pulp, bacteria can eventually penetrate these layers. The reason we need to brush our teeth and use dental floss and mouth washes is to brush and sweep away the bacteria. This will help us avoid corrosion of the protective dental layers and the subsequent damage that lands us in the dentist’s chair.

When we neglect our oral hygiene, then these agents multiply exponentially. Usually the damage begins with the gums around the teeth becoming infected, then the corrosion expands downwards and towards the root of each tooth. Eventually, the bacteria penetrate the crown (the visible part of the tooth), through the dentin, all the way to the sensitive pulp.

When is it time to get worried?

Pain is not the only indication that there is a problem that needs root canal treatment. Other symptoms may include:

  • A persistent bad taste in the mouth
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet food or drink
  • Swollen gums

The root canal treatment

root-canalFirst of all, let’s put your mind at ease. The days of root canal treatment being long and painful, are long gone. Dentists like Dr. Mark Samuels use the most modern laser techniques that remove bacteria, infected tooth material fast, safely and most of all without pain. While it is no longer necessary with laser treatments, you may wish to take advantage of sedation dentistry.

Dr. Samuels will start by numbing the area to be worked on. The tooth will then be cleaned out, and then filled with dental cement to keep any further bacteria out. Once the tooth is filled, he will place the restoration which may be a full crown, depending on the extent of the damage of the decay.

With new methods for root canal treatment and, depending on the condition of the teeth, it is quite possible that the entire procedure can be completed in a single visit within one or two hours.

Best of all, it’s about as comfortable and pain-free as getting a filling.

Infected teeth must be treated

The root canal treatment as described above will save the infected tooth and will allow you to use it again. But this is not the only reason that you should make sure that any such infection is treated immediately.

When you have an infected tooth, the pain causes you to subconsciously avoid using this tooth for chewing. Consequently you start chewing only on the other side putting extra chewing pressure on those teeth. Eventually you may wear them down, or the bone on the infected side will deteriorate and could risk losing your tooth.

Furthermore, you lose your incredible smile, you stop eating the foods you like out of fear of experiencing greater pain and eventually you will require ongoing dental care. All of the above are also saved with a timely root canal treatment which may allow you to maintain the treated tooth, with the proper care, long with the rest of your healthy teeth.

If you are already experiencing some of the above symptoms, you need to call Dr. Samuels’ office today at (203) 742-1027. Dr. Mark Samuels will assess the condition of your teeth and the seriousness of the situation and will provide you with your treatment options and an estimate. Dr. Samuels will help get your smile back on track.

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Lighthouse Dental Care

88 Ryders Lane, Stratford, CT 06614

(203) 742-1027