When our teeth become infected or badly decayed, they need to be treated using a root canal and capped off using a crown to protect the damaged area and prevent future infections.
A root canal is a safe and effective way to treat teeth whose pulp has become infected or inflamed and can also be used to save and restore teeth in other situations. A root canal is, in many cases, the only way to save a tooth that is severely damaged or infected.
Though many patients believe that root canals are painful, it simply isn’t true. Your dental team will treat you with a local anesthetic before the procedure, and suggest or prescribe pain medication for you after the fact. As long as your pain is managed properly, a root canal is a nearly painless procedure.
The best way to avoid needing a root canal is to take proper care of your teeth and gums. You can do this by brushing your teeth at least twice per day, flossing at least once per day, and visit your dentist for regular dental exams and cleanings.
A root canal involves removing infected or damaged tissue (called pulp) from inside the crown and roots of your tooth. First, your dentist will drill down into your tooth to remove the infected or damaged tissue, then the void (called the canal) is disinfected, shaped, and filled with a natural rubber-like material called gutta percha, which will seal the canal.
The opening of the tooth is then sealed, either temporarily or permanently, with a crown to prevent the tooth from becoming reinfected. If your dentist provides you with a temporary crown, then it is vital that you return for your follow up appointment to receive your permanent crown. Temporary crowns are not designed to stand up to long term wear and tear, and a damaged crown leaves your tooth vulnerable to reinfection.
Crowns, also known as caps, are hollow artificial teeth that are used to cover a decayed or damaged tooth. Crowns can also be used to improve the look of stained, cracked, or otherwise blemished teeth.
There are several different types of crowns, each of which is made from a different material. Depending on which tooth requires a crown your dentist will determine which material, or combination of materials, is best suited to your unique dental needs.
Crowns can be made of four different materials or material combinations: metal crowns, composite crowns, porcelain crowns, and porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
Before they begin your dentist will treat the tooth that needs to be crowned with a local anesthetic and, if you are going to be fitted with a temporary crown, take an impression of your tooth. They will then file down the tooth that needs to be restored in order to make room for the crown.
Next, your dentist will take an impression of your filed tooth and its adjacent teeth, which will be used to create a permanent, custom fit crown. In order to protect your tooth while your permanent crown is being made your dentist may fit your tooth with a temporary crown which is made out of restorative material (the same material used for fillings). A temporary crown may not be the same shape or colour as your final crown.
On your next visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and replace it with the final one. It is imperative that you return for your follow up visit so you can be fitted with your crown. Temporary crowns are not designed to withstand more than a short period of wear and tear, and if your temporary crown becomes cracked or damaged your tooth could become vulnerable to infection.
Once your permanent crown has been installed your dentist will check to make sure that it is the right shape, colour, fit, and bite. If your crown is correct, your dentist will then cement it into place.
Depending on your unique dental needs your tooth may need special care and attention. If you require orthodontic care, treatment for your gums, or a root canal, you may need to visit your dentist more than twice, and your appointment may take longer than a typical visit.
For more information about crowns and root canals, or to request an appointment, please contact us.
We are conveniently located in Calgary’s East Village! Street parking is available out front, and there is an Impark parking lot across the street.