If you have an abscess under your tooth, a root canal is one way to treat it. The dentist will go in, drill into your tooth, and draw out the infected material. After they have done that, the dentist will pack your tooth with a material to keep the tooth from being reinfected, and then put a temporary filling on your tooth. After everything has healed, your dentist will put a permanent filling or crown on your tooth. But, is a root canal the only way to treat an infected tooth?
The pulp is the soft tissue inside of your tooth. When a cavity gets large or deep enough, it can start to threaten the pulp and infect it. Pulp capping can help with that. Your dentist will drill out the decay from the cavity until they get to the pulp. When they reach the pulp of your tooth, they will put some medicine over it. The medicine will help to treat any infection that may have started. It will also help to keep any further infections from starting. Then the dentist will cover the area with a special filling. The hope is that the dentin of your tooth will eventually regenerate and cover the filling so that you don't have to have a crown. This method is called direct capping.
There is also a method of pulp capping called indirect capping. In this method, the dentist will still drill out the decayed material. However, instead of having to drill all the way into the pulp, your dentist will leave a thin layer of dentin over the pulp. After this point, the procedure will be the same. You will still have the medication put on the area and then put a filling over, again hoping that the dentin has a good area to be able to regenerate over. Whichever method your dentist chooses to use, you are going to need to go back for several follow up visits to make sure that the dentin is regenerating, and that there is no infection.
Pulp capping is one alternative to getting a root canal. If it doesn't work, your dentist will be able to help you with other treatments, one of which will likely be a root canal. The tooth may already be too damaged to try any alternative treatment. The only person who can tell you that is your dentist. So, if you have a toothache, don't put an appointment off. Go see a dentist like Van Buskirk & Krischke DDS, LLC and see how they can help you.