By Dr. Matthew Weekes
October 9th, 2013 Edition
In the past toothaches resulted in the extraction of the offending teeth. For many this was the only option. Usually when the per- son went to the dentist there was little natu- ral tooth structure left. This trend continued until there were several missing teeth, which were later replaced by partial or complete dentures.
Over the past 40 years, Preventive Dentistry has lead to a steady decline in the loss of teeth.
Screening children early during the cavity prone years (6-16) has been very beneficial to our youth in Canada.
Root Canal Therapy (RCT) is a common treatment performed by the dentist or dental specialist (Endodontist) that saves a tooth that otherwise would be extracted. Usually the tooth has a cavity and the bacteria has infiltrated the pulp, causing pain. If there is adequate natural tooth structure then the treatment of choice is RCT, not extraction.
Depending on the severity of the infection, the tooth can be treated in one or two visits.
After the tooth is anesthetized (frozen) the infected pulp is removed. This is called an emergency pulpectomy. It puts an end to the pain. A temporary filling is put in the tooth and medication may be prescribed.
At a subsequent visit a permanent filling is put in the tooth. Later the tooth can be re- stored to an ideal form by placement of a natural looking porcelain crown.