Root Canal Treatment
Few dental procedures inspire feelings of dread like the root canal procedure. Many people seem to feel that this treatment is like some type of medieval torture. In reality, root canals are not painful, and they are more common than you think. And any temporary discomfort resulting from a root canal pales in comparison to what you would experience if you left a tooth abscess untreated.
Let's look at a few common reasons why you may need a root canal.
If your tooth has a decay or cavity that is so deep that it reaches the nerve inside the tooth, then a normal dental filling may not be enough to save the tooth. This is because to fix a tooth we generally need to remove the decay. If the decay is very close or goes into the nerve, then bacteria from the decay will have infiltrated into the nerve of the tooth, which will mean it requires root canal treatment prior to a dental filling or crown.
Any time you have swelling in a tooth, it may be due to an abscess, or infection. Abscesses occur when bacteria enters the tooth pulp, leading to inflammation and eventual pain. It is important to have the tooth abscess treated at this point, since the swelling and pain can begin spreading beyond the initial location of the infection. Having a root canal procedure will remove the source of pain and infection and offer immediate relief.
Grinding or clenching of the teeth can lead to fractures. When only the surface of the tooth is cracked or chipped, a dental filling is usually enough. If a small crack should grow larger, bacteria can enter your tooth and result in an infection. At this point, we would recommend a root canal procedure to save your tooth.
Dental pulp is a soft tissue found in the center of a tooth, which supplies blood to it. Dental pulp can become injured, resulting in the formation of a cavity where bacteria causes inflammation and pain. Contact us right away if you began experiencing throbbing pain or sensitivity in your teeth.
Root canal treatment is completed over multiple appointments. The first appointment is to remove any decay or cracks and determine if the tooth is suitable to undergo the root canal treatment. If so we access the nerve canals and place an initial antibiotic and corticosteroid in the nerve chamber, to relieve pain.
At the second appointment we will mechanically clean and shape each nerve canal to the length of the tooth, followed by placing a different antibiotic dressing which remains in place over a period of 4-6 weeks.
The final appointment occurs after the 4-6 week period. We access the nerve canals and clean and flush them to ensure no bacteria or infection remains. The canals are then sealed and a final restoration placed on the tooth. The tooth is now ready for a crown to prolong the life expectancy of the treatment and ensure the tooth does not crack.
After Your Root Canal
There is nothing like the relief that is felt after a root canal procedure. Any pain and discomfort that you were experiencing prior to the treatment will be dissipated. Normally, over-the-counter pain medication will help relieve any temporary discomfort that you may experience after your root canal. It may also help to avoid chewing on the side of the mouth that underwent the root canal for two or three days.