Root Canal Therapy
Sometimes a tooth dies or becomes so irritated and painful as to be intolerable. This may occur as a result of extremely deep decay (which has gotten near or even into the nerve or pulp chamber), deep fillings, or trauma, such as an accident or grinding/clenching of your teeth. There can also be leakage due to a poorly placed filling or crown. This allows bacteria to get into the tooth and set up decay, which in turn, leads to infection that could ultimately be responsible for the death of a tooth. Some of these factors are beyond the control of the dentist.
A devital (dead) tooth becomes a source of inflammation in the bone surrounding the tooth. This, of course, is not acceptable and can be a cause or future cause of your health problems. Because the tooth is the source of infection and inflammation, it must be removed, or receive root canal (endodontic) treatment. This consists of cleaning and "sterilizing" the nerve chamber and canals, followed by a thorough "sealing" of the canal.
As with any dental or medical treatment, a 100% success rate cannot be guaranteed, but root canal therapy has been historically considered to be highly successful by the conventional dental profession. The decision to have a tooth removed, or a root canal performed to save the tooth, is determined on an individual basis.
In our office we have the technology to test individual root canal teeth that you may already have to determine the level of infection that is present in the tooth. This is a very simple procedure where we take a sample of the fluid around the tooth and send it to a specialized lab to determine the DNA of the bacteria that is associated with the root canal tooth. This method of analysis may help you decide whether to keep a tooth or not.