Root canal treatment is often a last resort for people who are experiencing tooth pain and want to save their damaged tooth. Although the procedure isn’t nearly as scary or painful as in years past, most patients view the aspect of this treatment with disdain. Recovery from a root canal is often no worse than recovering from a dental filling, but there are some issues that affect your ability to recover from root canal treatment.
The severity of your tooth’s condition plays a big role in your treatment. If your infection or decay is not too advanced, it may mean an easier recovery than a patient with acute problems requiring extensive root canal treatment. Your dentist will determine the severity of your case and be able to prepare you for what to expect.
Although all dentists are trained to perform root canal treatment, not all of them choose to offer this service as part of their practice. Your dentist may refer you to an endodontist, who is a dentist specializing in root canal treatment. These types of dentists are trained in all aspects of root canals and can handle even the most severe cases. Often, endodontists are so experienced and knowledgeable that they can even help shorten your recovery period after treatment.
No matter which dentist performs your treatment, you should receive detailed instructions about how to care for yourself afterwards. You will be given guidelines about what to eat and what to avoid, how to handle pain, activity restrictions, and other details. There may also be mouth exercises suggested to follow to aid in your recovery. Make sure you keep any follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing.
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Millions of root canal treatments are performed every year, and it is an effective and safe way to save a damaged tooth. Unlike its reputation over the years, modern dentistry allows this procedure to be practically painless and to provide relief from symptoms right away.
The first thing to understand is the anatomy of the tooth. Under the hard enamel on the outside of the tooth and the dentin below that, the interior of a tooth contains pulp. It houses the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues that all nourish the tooth. This allows it to grow properly and contributes to good oral health. After the tooth is fully developed, the tooth can get its nourishment from surrounding tissues and the pulp is not as necessary.
The pulp can become infected, inflamed, or damaged by problems like decay, injury, repeated dental procedures, or a bad crown. If the damaged pulp is not treated, an abscess can develop or severe pain can result. Often, root canal treatment is the only way to save the tooth instead of having to extract it. Dentists advise that saving a tooth is almost always a better option, providing the most natural appearance, efficient function, and protection of oral health.
Many patients report that root canal treatment is not much different for them than having a regular filling done. X-rays are taken and a local anesthetic is administered. Once numb, a dental dam is placed to protect the area during the procedure. Then the pulp is removed, the area is thoroughly cleaned, and then it is filled with special material for this purpose. The tooth is sealed for protection, and finally a crown is placed on top to protect the tooth. Most patients are able to return to normal activities immediately following treatment, and the procedure is permanent in most cases.
If you need a root canal dentist in Morehead City, contact our office today.
If you have tooth pain or another issue, you might wonder what a visit to the dentist may reveal. You may need a root canal procedure. In order to properly evaluate your issue and to confirm the need for a procedure, a dentist will examine several factors. These typically include the symptoms you are experiencing, the signs observed, and any additional testing required to confirm an initial theory.
You may have noticed:
- You experience average to severe pain that lingers, during or immediately after drinking hot liquids or food, or very cold liquids or foods.
- You have pain, swelling, or sensitivity when biting or chewing on a certain tooth.
- Your tooth pain disrupts your life, preventing you from sleeping through the night or conducting your daily business without taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.
- You have a “bubble” on your gum, similar to a pimple. When irritated, it may release blood or pus that can smell or taste bad.
- You have pain that radiates out from one tooth to other areas of your head or jaw. For example, a tooth pain can lead to a pain behind the eye like a headache or to the ear, resulting in earache symptoms.
- You have a discolored tooth that is darker than the surrounding teeth. A grey tooth can indicate a “dead” tooth.
- You have a broken or cracked tooth with obvious signs of damage or decay.
Your dentist may have noticed:
- A tooth problem revealed by x-rays
- A recurring or persistent gum pimple (also called “fistulous tracts”)
- A tooth that has changed color
- X-ray examination – if x-rays did not reveal the problem, they can provide an extremely clear picture of tooth health
- Percussion testing – a gentle tapping on the teeth to evaluate pain response
- Thermal testing – a careful application of a hot or cold stimulus to evaluate sensitivity
Sometimes, teeth needing to undergo a root canal procedure have no symptoms discernible to the patient. It is important to visit your dentist regularly to ensure the proper diagnosis and treatment needed to maintain life-long oral health.
If you need root canal treatment in the Morehead City area, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
When a tooth is seriously decayed or has become infected, a root canal procedure can be done to repair the tooth and save it. During the procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed, while the remainder of the center of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and then carefully sealed to prevent infection.
“Root canal” is the term for the natural space within the tooth’s center. The tooth’s nerve is in the root canal, as is the pulp (or pulp chamber), which is the soft area within the root canal. Because the tooth’s nerve isn’t vital to a tooth’s health, removing it doesn’t prevent the normal functioning of the tooth.
Removing the nerve and the pulp is necessary in some cases to address irritation, inflammation and infection stemming from severe decay, damaged or deep fillings, cracked or chipped teeth or facial trauma. When the nerve tissue and pulp become damaged, bacteria begin to form within the pulp chamber. This can lead to a serious infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess can form when the infection spreads past the ends of the tooth roots.
Additionally, severe infections can lead to bone loss around the tip of the root or holes in the tooth that drain the infection into the gums or through the cheek into the skin. It can cause swelling that spreads to the face, head, or neck.
Sometimes, the only signs you need a root canal procedure are more minor. They can include tooth pain when applying pressure or chewing, discoloration (darkening) of the tooth, tenderness and/or swelling of the gum tissue, or a pimple or blemish on the gums that is recurring. Acute sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures that does not abate with time can also be a sign.
Talk to your dentist or endodontist (a dentist whose specialty is the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and trauma to the dental pulp or nerve of the tooth) about your concerns. Your dentist will know what to do so you may make the best decisions for your long-term tooth health.
If you live in the Morehead City area and you need a root canal, contact our dental office today.