Endodontics & Root Canals
Endodontics and root canal treatment deals specifically with dental disorders involving the nerves connected to the teeth. In most cases, a tooth becomes infected due to a problem with the nerve endings in its root. If the infected nerves are not removed, it could cause a tooth abscess. This is a serious situation that may lead to bone loss in the jaw. Root canals are the most common of all endodontic procedures. The following are common indications that you may need a root canal:
- You experience throbbing pain in one area of your mouth
- One tooth appears darker than the others
- Your pain increases when you stand up, lie down, or drink hot or cold beverages
- A small sac filled with pus forms on your gum line
- Your gums are red and swollen
- You have swelling of the neck or face
What to Expect During and After a Root Canal
To start the root canal procedure, the area surrounding the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic. Next, an opening into the canal is made by drilling down into the tooth. This allows removal of the infected tooth pulp and tissue and clean the tooth from the inside. Once the infection is cleared, the next step is to fill the open space with a sealant known as gutta percha. Once the root canal is complete, we will place a crown on top of the tooth that has received the root canal. This protects it from further infection, improves the appearance of the tooth, and allows you to speak and eat normally.
Root canals have gotten a bad reputation over the years as being a painful procedure, but dental technology has progressed to the point where this is rarely the case anymore. The local anesthesia you receive before the root canal and using appropriate pain medication afterwards makes it a completely manageable dental surgery. You may experience tenderness and soreness at the site of the root canal for a few days afterwards, but this is to be expected. Most people only need over-the-counter pain medication to stay ahead of the pain for the first few days. However, you may be given a prescription for painkillers in certain situations.
In addition to relieving the pain caused by a tooth infection, root canals allow you to preserve your tooth, eat a normal diet, and avoid more extensive dental problems later. If you experience any of the above symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact our office for immediate evaluation and treatment. Occasionally, an infected tooth doesn’t present any symptoms at all. This is why regular preventive care is so important because it allows our dentists to spot a tooth infection and refer you for a root canal.