Relieve Pain with Root Canal Therapy
We regularly perform a root canal endodontic treatment in order to remove infections and save our patients’ teeth.
Contrary to popular belief, root canal treatments are not painful! Thanks to modern dental technology and procedures, most patients undergoing a root canal treatment with us find the entire experience no more painful than having a filling placed. And the benefits of getting a root canal when one is needed far outweigh the slight discomfort. Root canal, or endodontic, therapy can save your natural tooth, which is always the ideal case. Endodontic therapy also has a very high success rate, and with good care, many treated teeth can last a lifetime.
When is Root Canal Therapy Needed?
Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.
Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although, on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
Signs and Symptoms
Although our dentists will determine whether or not endodontic treatment is necessary to save your tooth via examination and x-rays, there are some common signs and symptoms to indicate when root canal therapy could be needed:
Tooth pain upon chewing or application of pressure
Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold
Discoloration of tooth
Swelling and tenderness in nearby gums, lymph nodes
Persistent or recurring pimples on the gums
However, it is important to know that sometimes there are no symptoms, yet a tooth can still be infected or damaged. An infected tooth must be treated as soon as possible, since infection in a single tooth can spread to other teeth, the surrounding gums and even into the bone, face, neck or head, causing further serious health complications.
Reasons for Root Canal Therapy
Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
Infections or abscesses have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
Injury or trauma to the tooth.
What does Root Canal Therapy Involve?
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist). While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments. Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.
At the next appointment, usually, a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed. You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.