About Root canals
A root canal is performed when trauma or infection damages the inner nerve of the tooth. The nerve and pulp inside the tooth sit in a structure of canals amid the tooth’s roots, so the treatment is called a root canal when these are removed. Any decay, bacteria or damaged nerve tissue is removed, and the tooth is filled with a medicated dental material to stop pain and allow the tooth to function again.
We do root canal therapy when the damage to a tooth is severe enough that it might otherwise need to be removed. It’s a valuable treatment option that allows you to keep your tooth intact and avoid the problems that may follow a tooth extraction. Conditions that might lead to a root canal include a cracked or chipped tooth, large or repeated fillings in a tooth, a large cavity, or some type of trauma to the tooth.
What to expect with a root canal
Root canal treatment is typically very successful, and also quite common, with more than 15 million performed each year. The treatment has a bad reputation, but with our experienced dentists, it’s actually pain-free and simple, just slightly longer than a regular filling. In fact, a root canal is often the only way to save a damaged or decayed tooth and eliminate the need for a more-invasive replacement.
The process begins with numbing the area with local anesthetic, isolating the tooth to be treated with a rubber dam barrier, then removing the damaged or infected pulp through a small drilled opening. The canals inside the tooth are thoroughly cleaned, then sealed with gutta percha, and the opening is sealed again. In most cases, depending on the damage existing in the tooth, a protective dental crown is needed to restore the tooth to full strength.
It’s normal to have some tooth sensitivity after a root canal, but if there is additional swelling or pain after a few days, it’s time to call your dentist and get checked in case of further infection.
After most root canals, the tooth is preserved and functions well throughout the patient’s lifetime. However, it’s possible that another infection or additional decay or damage happens in the future, and your dentist can present you with further treatment options if so.
Reasons for a Root Canal
A root canal treatment may become necessary when the pulp, or soft tissue inside of the tooth, becomes inflamed or infected. Some of the reasons why a root canal may be necessary are:
- Repeated dental procedures on a tooth
- Cases of deep tooth decay
- A faulty dental crown
- Chips or cracks in the tooth
- Injuries to teeth that can result in pulp damage, even if no visible chips or cracks are present
Signs You Need Endodontic Treatment
- constant tooth pain
- severe tooth decay
- swollen gums
- a “pimple-like” fistula (abscessed tooth) on the gum tissue next to the affected tooth that has a lot of decay
- a tooth that has a fracture
- dental sensitivity to hot and cold
- a sports traumatic injury to the mouth
- injury to a child’s developing tooth
If pulp infection or inflammation is left untreated, it can lead to pain, abscesses, and can affect surrounding teeth and gums, so it’s important to seek professional dental care as soon as symptoms are detected. Scheduling regular dentist appointments can also provide early intervention for symptoms or signs of infection.
The best way to diagnose if a root canal is necessary is through a professional dental examination and x-rays. A root canal treatment is the only method of treating infected pulp while preserving the natural tooth, but our experienced team will discuss all of your treatment options with you during your appointment.
Recovery from a Root Canal
After your root canal procedure, our team will send you home with specific aftercare and pain management instructions. As the numbing medication wears off, you may begin to feel some soreness and sensitivity around the treated tooth, and it is typically advised to avoid biting or chewing down on the treated tooth until after the final crown is placed and the tooth has been fully restored.
It’s important to continue brushing and flossing after your root canal treatment to keep the area clean and avoid further infection, and it can also help the healing process to avoid eating hard foods immediately afterward. If pain or swelling becomes worse or does not subside within a few days following your procedure, you can reach out to our office and we will advise you on next steps.
If you’re in pain, contact us today
If you are experiencing tooth pain or feel you may need a root canal, contact us today to schedule a consultation. At Moore and Pascarella , we blend great patient care with superior quality dental services, and we will always go the extra mile to bring out the best in your smile.