Root CanalStamford, CT
You do not need to panic if your dentist or endodontist recommends root canal therapy to treat an infected or damaged tooth. Many people undergo this treatment each year to save their teeth and get substantial relief from pain.
Despite what you see in movies, root canal therapy is not as painful or debilitating as people claim. The procedure is simple, painless and highly effective. With proper treatment, you will see noticeable results and go back to your normal life.
What is a root canal?
Your tooth has different layers. Under the hard enamel and the dentin lies a soft tissue called the pulp. This area is made up of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues, which are responsible for the tooth’s development.
A fully mature tooth can exist independently of the pulp because the tooth gets its nourishment from the surrounding tissues. The root canal procedure is a dental treatment performed to remove the soft tissues or pulp of the tooth. In most cases, your dentist will use local anesthesia during the procedure.
When is a root canal necessary?
A root canal is required when the tooth pulp becomes infected, inflamed or injured. The tooth crown can stay intact after the pulp dies. To preserve the structure of the tooth, the dentist has to remove the injured or infected pulp.
The notion of undergoing a root canal might scare you, but you should never put off this procedure. The tooth pain caused by the infection can be so intense that it will deprive you of sleep and interfere with work. If you ignore it for too long, it can become a dental emergency. When this happens, you need to reach out to an emergency dentist to perform the procedure as soon as possible.
The root canal procedure is not painful, especially when you consider the pain that the infection will cause. A root canal is meant to relieve that pain by removing the harmful bacteria from the tooth.
Damage to the pulp may be caused by:
Injuries to the pulp are usually indicated by tooth pain, gum swelling and warm sensations in the gum. When you visit the dental office, the dentist will check the affected tooth and perform x-rays to confirm the situation.
The root canal procedure
At the dentist’s office, the dentist or the staff member will explain the steps involved in the treatment. This typically includes:
The dentist will apply local anesthesia to the gum near the affected tooth to numb the pain. This may come with a minor irritation or sharp pinch, but it will soon fade. The anesthesia applied will prevent you from feeling any discomfort throughout the procedure, even though you are awake.
Cleaning the pulp out
After numbing the tooth, the dental expert will make a tiny opening on the top of the tooth to reach its core. After exposing the infected pulp, the dentist will use a tool to carefully clean out the infected pulp and bacteria.
After removing the pulp, the dentist will apply an antibiotic to the area to completely rid the area of infection. After cleaning and disinfecting the space, the tooth will be filled and sealed with a paste and a material known as gutta-percha. Your dentist may give you an oral antibiotic.
Placing the temporary filling
The procedure is complete after the dentist fills the opening with a soft temporary filling. The sealant used will help prevent saliva from penetrating the tooth. If additional visits are required, the dentist will replace the temporary filling with dental cement to seal off the tooth permanently.
Adding extra support
In some situations, the dentist may place a tiny metal or plastic post next to the gutta-percha for additional structural support. Placing the crown is the final step and not always necessary. If the tooth is damaged, a crown will sit over it to strengthen and protect the tooth. A crown will also help restore the shape and size of the tooth while ensuring its structural integrity.
Recovering from the root canal procedure
After the anesthesia wears off, you might feel a bit of soreness in your tooth and gums. The dentist will recommend over-the-counter pain killers such as Ibuprofen or acetaminophen for the pain or possible gum swelling. You should contact your dentist if the pain increases or fails to subside within a few days.
You will be able to return to your normal schedule shortly after the procedure. You should try not to chew on the treated tooth until the dentist has placed a crown or permanent filling. Additional visits to your dentist will be required within days of the procedure. The dentist will take x-ray scans to be sure the tooth is free of infection. It could take several weeks to become familiar with the new crown. This is normal and not a reason for worry.
Are there any risks?
The root canal procedure is the final method of treating a tooth before removing it completely. In some cases, the damage is too severe or the enamel is too fragile to undergo the treatment. These factors can cause tooth loss. If the infection is not totally removed or antibiotics fail, an abscess can form. This will need immediate treatment to prevent further infection.
If you are worried about the result of the procedure, you should discuss tooth extraction with your dentist. This may mean using a dental implant, partial denture or bridge to replace the removed tooth.
What to expect after the procedure
A root canal is generally a restorative procedure. Usually, after the treatment, you will be able to you're your teeth normally for the rest of your life. However, the durability of the crown depends on how the level of oral care you give your teeth. You need to maintain proper oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing and routine dental visits.
Do you need a root canal?
If you have a bothersome tooth or your dentist has recommended root canal therapy, you should schedule a consultation. Putting off this procedure can have disastrous consequences. To begin the treatment process, call our office and schedule a visit.
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