When a tooth is infected, but can be saved, a root canal (removal of the infected nerve/blood vessels within the roots) may be necessary. Dr. Heck works with great specialists (Endodontists) in South Austin to perform this procedure for his patients, as this gives patients the best long-term chance of keeping the tooth as well as providing a quick and comfortable experience to the patient.
Saving a tooth is one of the goals of a root canal. Your teeth have an inner core called pulp. The nerves and blood vessels of your tooth reside in the pulp. If the pulp becomes infected or damaged it needs to be removed to save your tooth.
Today’s root canals are no more involved than a filling. The doctor drills into the affected tooth, removes the pulp, applies antibiotics if needed, and then fills the tooth with a substance known as gutta-percha. A crown may be placed to further protect your tooth.
When teeth are infected or too broken down to be saved, they must be removed. Other reasons for an extraction include a crowded mouth and risk of infection. This is often followed by bone grafting to fill the space left behind, and to prepare the area for a bridge or dental implant.
With today’s dental practices a tooth extraction is a painless procedure. Your doctor will determine the amount of sedation you need from local anesthetic, light sedation, or general anesthesia, and extract the tooth. If the tooth is impacted a small amount of gum tissue may need to be removed.
After the tooth is removed your doctor may use dissolvable stitches to close the gum tissue around your gums. Gauze is packed into the socket to protect the blood clot which forms. If the blood clot falls out and exposes the socket, you may experience pain. This is known as a dry socket. The doctor will apply a sedative dressing for a few days to protect the socket.