If tooth decay extends to the center of the tooth, it may infect the pulp or nerve of the tooth. The infection spreads down the root and out the end of the tooth, forming an abscess which can create intense pain and a classic “toothache” feeling. The body cannot cure the infection because once the tooth is infected, the blood supply to it breaks down, so there is now a source of infection inside the tooth that the immune system cannot cure. For the same reason, antibiotics cannot “cure” an infected tooth, they only shrink the abscess outside the tooth temporarily but do not get to the source.
The idea behind a root canal is to remove the source of the infection from inside the root, sterilize the root, and seal it against further bacterial contamination. Root canals have a very high long term success rate, and though many people are concerned when they hear about this treatment option, we at Rogers Family Dental can assure you that when performed properly, root canals are not painful and can make the difference between saving the tooth and having to replace it. In many offices, general dentists are not comfortable doing a lot of their own root canals and refer patients to an endodontist (root canal specialist), but here at Rogers Family Dental, our doctors have special continuing education training in advanced endodontics (root canals) and perform most of our root canals in our office. We use the same techniques as root canal specialists for our root canals including doing our root canal treatment under high magnification.