Do you cringe when you hear the term “root canal?” More properly termed “root canal therapy,” this traditional restorative procedure is nothing to dread. Rather than causing discomfort, root canal treatment from your dentist in Columbia, Dr. Philip A. Batson, actually relieves it. It also preserves an ailing tooth for years of additional service and leaves a smile complete and attractive.
The Why and What of Root Canal Treatment in Columbia
Root canal treatment, also called endodontic therapy, removes the soft pulp from the interior chambers, or root canals, of an infected or injured tooth. Infection, or abscess, happens due to extensive decay, oral injury or even gum disease. Bacteria and its resulting inflammation often invade a tooth after it chips, cracks or deteriorates due to an aging crown, filling or other restorative work.
Dr. Batson believes that root canal therapy is critical to the health of a smile. It is a better alternative to tooth extraction because losing a tooth means:
- Bone resorption at the extraction site
- Gum recession
- Lack of support for surrounding teeth, resulting in weakening and misalignment
- Poor chewing and speech
- An obvious smile gap which impacts personal appearance and self-confidence
Considering these adverse effects, Dr. Batson uses root canal therapy whenever possible to preserve a compromised tooth.
The procedure involves a straightforward restorative procedure at Columbia Healthy Smiles. Dr. Batson examines and X-rays the tooth to confirm root canal treatment is appropriate. Then, he typically uses local anesthetic to numb the area. After the patient is comfortable, he drills a small hole in the first of up to four interior chambers or canals.
Using a set of tiny files of progressively larger size, the doctor removes the diseased soft pulp and smooths the walls of the canal. He continues to the other chambers as needed, sealing each one with gutta-percha, a natural elastic substance which adds durability to the canal walls. He covers the tooth with a temporary filling or crown.
After a week to 10 days of healing at home, the patient returns to Dr. Batson for placement of a custom-made porcelain crown, and the procedure is complete. The restored tooth functions well without the blood vessels, connective tissue and nerves contained in the pulp chamber and canals because it receives adequate support and nourishment from tissues surrounding it on its exterior.
Caring for Your Restored Tooth
The American Association of Endodontists, specialists in root canals, dental implants and other advanced restorations, says that once a restored tooth is crowned, it is strong and lifelike. The patient simply flosses and brushes twice a day, as specified by the American Dental Association, and sees Dr. Batson twice a year for cleanings and check-ups.
Find Out More
If you are concerned about a tooth, or are experiencing some worrisome symptoms, please contact Columbia Healthy Smiles for an appointment with Dr. Batson. You’ll get the right care for that tooth and save yourself pain and worry.