Root canal therapy is used to repair and save a tooth that has been seriously decayed or infected. This treatment is performed when the pulp inside the tooth is damaged. The pulp is located in the center of the tooth; it is soft and sensitive, containing nerves and blood vessels. During a root canal procedure, the pulp is extracted and the area is cleaned, disinfected and sealed back up. If the damaged pulp is not removed, bacteria can start to build up and multiply inside the tooth. An infection can result and cause more serious issues in the future.
Root canals have sometimes had the reputation of being painful. However, the truth is that many people report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed. On the other hand, the pain and discomfort experienced in the period leading up to seeking dental care can be quite painful, more so than the root canal procedure itself.
There are some signs that indicate root canal therapy may be needed. It’s important for you to come into Rolling Oaks Dental to get checked out if you experience any of the following:
- Tender or swollen around gums
- Dark or discolored tooth
- Recurring pimple located on the gums
- Severe pain in teeth when chewing or applying pressure
- Pain or sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Sometimes it is possible for no symptoms to be present
Your Rolling Oaks dentists will perform a root canal procedure over one or more office visits. If there are more serious complications we may refer you to an endodontist, who specializes in root canals, but nearly all root canals have been treated right here in our office very successfully.
- X-rays are taken of the affected teeth in order to see the shape of the root canals. We look for signs of infection around the bone.
- Local anesthesia is used to numb the area. Rolling Oaks also offers nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral conscious sedation to help you through this procedure if you experience too much anxiety or stress.
- A sheet of rubber called a “rubber dam” will be placed around the affected tooth in order to keep the area dry during treatment.
- A hole is then drilled into the tooth to access the soft area of pulp. The pulp and nerve tissue is removed from the tooth. Once this is all out, along with any decay and debris, the tooth is very thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to ensure no bacteria gets trapped inside.
- The tooth is meticulously cleaned and flushed with water. If there was a bad infection, we may put a medication inside the tooth to clear it up fully first, in which case a temporary filling will be placed in the exterior hole in the tooth to keep contaminants out between appointments. But most of the time it will be sealed right away final filling put in.
- Finally, the tooth is sealed using a sealer paste and rubber compound which are placed into the tooth’s root canals and then a harder, standard filling is placed to fill the upper part of the tooth.
- The final step often involves further restoration. As a tooth that needs a root canal is often one that had a large filling already or extensive decay or other weakness, we will most likely place a crown on the tooth to protect it, prevent it from breaking, and restore it to full function.
After The Procedure
The result of your root canal therapy should effectively relieve the pain you feel in your tooth. It is recommended that until your root canal procedure is fully finished with the permanent filling and a crown, you must try to minimize chewing on that tooth. This will help avoid recontaminating the tooth’s interior and or a fragile tooth from breaking before it is fully restored. You should brush and floss as you regularly would, and don’t delay fully finishing the procedure.
Root canal treatment is almost always successful, with a more than a 95% success rate. Many teeth fixed with a properly done root canal can last a lifetime without any further problems. For the first few days after completing the treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive due to natural tissue inflammation, particularly if there was pain or infection prior to the procedure. This discomfort is common and can usually be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen. Most patients can return to their normal activities the next day.