Endodontics (Root Canal)
Dr. Matthew Walton has the experience and credentials you should look for when considering a new dentist for your root canal treatment.
Dedicated to life-long learning, Dr. Walton has averaged 90 continuing education credit hours (per licensing period) throughout his career; the minimum requirements for the state of Indiana are 20 continuing education credit hours per licensing period!
Located just 15 minutes south of downtown Indianapolis with free parking.
Dr. Matthew Walton, with a high-tech dental practice office located in Greenwood, has been serving patients from Indianapolis Metro, Southern Indiana & Central Indiana since 2006.
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Endodontics is the dental specialty that deals with the nerves of the teeth. Root canals are probably the most notorious procedure in dentistry and the most common procedure relating to endodontics. When a tooth becomes infected it is usually related to the nerves in the root of the tooth. The infected nerves need to be removed. If left untreated an infection can turn into an abscess, which is a much more serious problem that includes bone loss in the jaw.
The area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to start the procedure. The dentist will then drill down into the tooth to create an opening into the canal. They will then be able to remove infected tissue and clean the canal. After the infection has been removed, the space if filled with a sealant called gutta percha. It is highly recommended that a tooth that has undergone a root canal is fitted with a crown. This will improve the appearance of the tooth, and will also make it much more likely that the root canal is successful.
Video courtesy of ADA
Illustration showing an example of a root canal procedure.
“Root canal” has become a scary term for dental patients to hear, but the benefits of the procedure and advances in dental technology have made it much less “scary”. Local anesthetics and proper pain medication allow the procedure to be performed with little to no pain in most cases. There may be some soreness following the procedure, but that is normal for most dental procedures. Over the counter painkillers are usually enough to relieve any pain afterwards, but your dentist may prescribe medication. The procedure will also relieve you from pain caused by the infection allowing you to enjoy all the foods you love without any pain from heat, cold, or biting too hard. If you are experiencing pain consult your dentist today.
Tooth Decay, Root Canals, and Crowns
When a tooth gets decay (a cavity), it starts off very small, and takes quite some time to progress. If the decay is caught very early on in the process, then a very conservative, simple filling can be placed to fill in the hole that was left by the decay. This is the easiest, and cheapest way to fix the tooth. However, as the decay progresses, it destroys more and more of the tooth, and can even grow inward and reach the inner nerve canal, causing pain or infection. When it gets to this stage, the tooth will need a root canal. What a root canal accomplishes is to remove the nerve and blood supply, and rid the tooth of infection, so that there is no longer any pain associated with the decay and infection. A root canal is also sometimes necessary to perform prior to placing a post in a tooth.
Many times after a root canal has been performed, or if decay has destroyed much of a tooth, a crown (cap) will be placed over the top of the tooth. What the crown serves to do is protect the tooth so that you can chew and function on the tooth normally, and the tooth does not break or crumble under the force of chewing. As long as the crown fits properly where it comes into contact with the tooth (an area known as the “margin”), then a crown will typically last for many years. However, if the crown does not fit around the tooth very well or if a gap develops between the tooth and the crown (at the margin), then decay is able form and progress beneath the crown. The tooth underneath the crown is then softened and destroyed from the decay process. If the decay that starts around the margins of a crown is caught early on, many times the small area of decay can be removed and a small filling or “patch” can be placed and the crown can be salvaged. However, if the decay has progressed more, then the crown needs to be cut off of the tooth in order to fully remove the decay and evaluate the tooth underneath.
Parts of the Tooth
Video 01:00 | Have you ever wondered what makes up a tooth? The two main parts of the tooth are the crown and the root. The crown is the white part of the tooth you can see while the root is unseen below the gumline. Learn more about the various parts of a tooth and how good oral health care as well as regular dental visits, can help to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
Video courtesy of ADA
A root canal doesn’t protect against decay. It’s done to remove the nerve and blood supply of a tooth and clean out infection. Moreover, crowns (over the top of a tooth) can last many years, but they will not last forever and will need to be replaced at various times, usually due to recurrent decay. If decay is discovered early, it is very easy to fix. If it is found later in the process, then it is more difficult and costly to remedy.
“I enjoy coming into your office and I love the whole staff! Even if it’s for a not so enjoyable visit (root canals/crowns)! I have been treated with special care every time i visit. And you all are wonderful when it comes to passing along advice on how to take better care of my teeth. For that I am eternally grateful! Thanks you!”Marilyn L. – Read more reviews