ROOT CANAL / ENDODONTICS
DO YOU HAVE A THROBBING TOOTHACHE? YOU MAY NEED A ROOT CANAL.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected, by removing the infected nerve and damaged pulp. After the nerve and pulp are removed, the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. A root canal is also called Endodontic treatment.
Many patients report that the procedure itself is as easy as having a filling placed. The pain and discomfort encountered before seeking dental care are usually far more painful, than the root canal procedure itself. It is wonderful to see the relief on the patient’s face when the feel better and see how simple a root canal can really be.
After the tooth has emerged through the gums, a tooth’s nerve is not extremely important to a tooth’s overall function. Its only function is to provide the feeling of cold or heat. The removal of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functionality of the tooth.
Why Does the Pulp Need to Be Removed?
When nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber and causes it to deteriorate. The bacteria and other decayed debris will cause an infection, an abscessed tooth, which is usually very painful.
Signs You May Need A Root Canal
- Moderate to Severe pain when chewing or applying pressure
- Darkening or discoloration of the tooth
- Tenderness and swelling in surrounding area and nearby gums
- A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
- Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures even after the heat or cold has been removed
What To Expect After Root Canal Procedure?
The root canal treatment should relieve the pain you feel. Sensitivity to temperature will be gone immediately. The feeling of pressure, as it is due to bacterial infection, may linger for a few days, but will be greatly reduced immediately.
In most cases, a tooth that has had a root canal will need a crown. This will keep you from recontaminating the tooth’s interior and will help prevent a tooth that was weakened by decay or fracture tooth from breaking.
Why get a root canal treatment?
An endodontic treatment saves a severely injured, cracked, or decayed tooth when its pulp (the soft inner tissue inside a tooth’s root canal) becomes inflamed or infected. If it is not treated promptly, pain or a tooth abscess (infection) results. Endodontic treatment is also known as a “root canal.”
Root canal treatment is completed in one or two office visits, depending on the presence of infection and the required treatment plan. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth. With good oral hygiene, the restored tooth has the potential to last a lifetime.
What is an endodontist?
Endodontists are root canal specialists. They are qualified dentists who have two additional years of education and specialized training in the care and treatment of tooth pulp and the inner parts of the tooth. If a root canal is required, a dentist often refers the patient to an endodontist for treatment. Your endodontist will work closely with your dentist to improve your oral health and restore your natural teeth.
What are some common symptoms?
See your dentist if you experience any of these symptoms:
· Tooth or gum pain, discoloration, or prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
· A tooth that is tender when it is touched
· A tooth abscess (pus enclosed in the tissues of the jawbone at the tip of an infected tooth)
· Pus drainage in your mouth
· Swelling or tenderness in the lymph nodes under your jaw
Sometimes an endodontic problem can exist without warning signs. In these cases, a Digital X-ray taken during a routine dental checkup will reveal the tooth damage.
What is a root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment involves the removal of the diseased pulp along with the tooth’s nerve (located within a tooth’s root canal). The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of your tooth are then cleaned, medicated and sealed. A dental crown or other restorative treatment is used to protect and strengthen the tooth.
What happens after I am diagnosed?
After reviewing a Digital X-ray of your tooth, your endodontist will thoroughly examine your teeth, gums and supporting bone structure, recommend a treatment plan, discuss it with you, and answer your questions. If a root canal is needed:
- A local anesthetic is applied to the affected tooth and surrounding area
- A small, protective sheet called a “dental dam” is used to isolate the tooth to keep it clean and free of saliva during your procedure
- An opening is made in the top of the tooth and your endodontist will remove the soft pulp and nerve and then shape the interior for filling
- The root canal is cleaned, medicated, and filled with a rubber-like biocompatible material (gutta percha)
- A temporary filling is placed pending your return to your general dentist
- Your general dentist will then place a permanent restoration, such as a crown, to protect the tooth