A root canal is a procedure done to remove infection and bacteria that has moved into the internal part of the tooth, along with infected tissue where the nerve and blood vessels reside. If left untreated, this infection can cause an abscess in the surrounding bone of the tooth. Infection is loaded with bacteria. These little buggers make their way past the hard enamel, past the dentin and into the soft-tissue chamber of the tooth whereby they can now easily travel down into the pulp canal of the root and set up residence in the little “nooks and crannies” found along the way. And when they do, they become a nuisance. No matter how well the root canal is done, not all these bacteria can be reached and cleaned out. The immune system recognizes them and tries to deal with them but in the end, the immune system loses and an abscess develops. Root canal treatment used to be the national symbol for pain but not anymore. Endodontists (root canal specialists) have worked hard to make your experience go smoothly.

There is controversy regarding the root canaled tooth in regard to overall body health that I feel needs to be mentioned here. According to the American Dental Association, root canals are a very effective, successful and viable treatment to save teeth and whatever bacteria still remain, for the most part is inconsequential. On the other side of the argument is our holistic medical community that believes the bacteria that remain within the root surface causes a hardship to the immune system. And this hardship can manifest itself in other health issues. So, rather than have a root canal, if the tooth is abscessed, some people elect to extract the tooth instead. For me, it’s important to talk about this issue. Both sides have a compelling argument. My job is to share with you what these issues are, how they relate to your personal health concerns and existing health condition and allow you to make a decision that works best for you. But if you decide you want a root canal, I will refer you to a root canal specialist who works with a microscope to help give you the best treatment possible. If you’re going to have a root canal, have a good one!

And one more thing: Our technology with a CT scan (a 3-dimensional radiograph or x-ray) allows us to better diagnose abscesses especially around the teeth next to the maxillary sinuses. Many times on regular standard radiographs, these abscesses do not show up and they remain pain-free because the abscess spills out into the sinuses. We are now taking more CT scans of existing root canaled teeth to better diagnose their success. If you have concerns about your existing root canaled teeth or you think something is not quite right with your sinuses, etcetera, let’s talk about it.

Janette Carroll, DDS, located in Mount Vernon, WA. Call 360-424-0123 today.