When it comes to feared dental procedures, root canal is often one of the first treatments that springs to mind. Fortunately, with advancements in dental technology, root canal treatments are easy and fairly painless. Improvements in the tools and techniques used for root canal therapy, now make the treatment straightforward, allowing patients to easily treat their dental infection and prevent tooth loss.
What is root canal therapy?
Root canal therapy is an invasive dental procedure that is used to remove infected tissues that accumulate in the root of the tooth. Failure to treat the infection will mean that blood and nutrients can no longer be delivered to the tooth, and the tooth will die.
Root canal infections happen when dental decay, that is caused by the interaction of oral bacteria with sugars in the food and drinks we consume, manages to reach the innermost layer of your tooth which is home to the root canal system. Our incisors and canines tend to have just one root, while larger molars can have two, three, or even four roots holding them in place.
Once an infection has taken hold, root canal therapy is the only way of dealing with the infection. Antibiotics have unfortunately proven to be ineffective in treating this type of infection.
Symptoms of a root canal infection
When you experience tooth pain, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what is causing it. However, there are some symptoms that you can look out for. Initially, you may have no indication of a problem at all. However, as the infection progresses, you may begin to experience:
Pain when you bite and chew
Pain and tooth sensitivity when you enjoy something hot, cold, or very sweet
As the infection begins to prevent blood and nutrients from reaching the tooth, and the tooth begins to die, these symptoms may disappear for a short while. However, eventually, further symptoms will make themselves apparent, including:
- Swelling in your jaw and face on the side of the affected tooth
- Swelling of the gums around the affected tooth
- Pus or other discharge oozing from the tooth
- The tooth may darken in color
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, you should arrange an appointment with our dental team as soon as possible. The sooner that root canal therapy is performed, the more likely it is that we will be able to save your tooth.
What happens during root canal therapy?
Root canal can be carried out in just two appointments with our dental team. Each is done using a local anesthetic to ensure that you are not uncomfortable, and you may be eligible for sedation services. If this is something you think you might benefit from, please mention it at our consultation.
Once you are under the effects of the anesthesia, we will drill through the tooth to expose the root canals. Using small, specialized tools, we can then remove any infected materials, clearing all traces of the infection. Once we are satisfied that the root canals are free of infection, the tooth will be temporarily sealed using a crown or cavity filling and left to rest. The purpose of this is to give the roots time to heal and ensure that there are no further infections developing.
Around a week later, you will be asked to return to our offices, so the root canals can be checked, then a permanent crown or cavity filling will be placed and the treatment complete.
Root canal therapy is an extremely safe and highly successful dental procedure that can save an infected tooth from extraction. If you are concerned that you may have an infected root canal, call Dentistry at Power Ranch today at 480-405-1300.