When bacteria get into the root canal of your tooth, it can cause infection and pain in the area around the tooth. If left untreated, this infection can spread through the bone surrounding the tooth and can lead to serious health problems. To prevent the infection from spreading, a root canal treatment may be necessary to remove the infected tissue and save your natural tooth.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a part of a tooth that contains nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. The nerve runs down the center of the tooth and supplies sensation to the teeth and gums—blood vessels run outside the tooth and supply nutrients to the cells.
When harmful bacteria or other substances enter the soft tissue inside the root canal, they can damage the nerve tissue and blood vessels and create an environment where infections can occur. This can result in severe pain and swelling. An endodontic procedure removes these irritants and cleans out the damaged parts of the tooth so that the tooth can heal properly.
When is a Root Canal Procedure Necessary?
Signs that you may need endodontic treatment (a root canal procedure) include:
- Severe tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures: This indicates inflammation or infection in the tooth’s pulp chamber.
- Persistent tooth pain that does not go away after several days of antibiotic medication: This could indicate that the infection has spread beyond the pulp chamber.
- Tooth pain when biting or chewing: This could mean that the nerve running through the tooth is damaged.
- Swelling in the gum near the affected tooth: This could indicate an abscess (a collection of pus) in the jawbone.
- Tooth discoloration: This occurs due to poor blood flow to the tooth.
See our dentist immediately if you experience any of these signs of infection. Prompt treatment will help avoid the need for a tooth extraction.
Steps Involved in a Root Canal Procedure
Here’s what to expect during a root canal procedure:
Cleaning and Preparing the Area
The first step in endodontic treatment is to clean and prepare the area by removing all debris and dead tissues from the tooth. Then, we will administer local anesthesia to numb the infected tooth and apply a protective rubber dam over the tooth to isolate it from the rest of the mouth.
Removing Infected Dental Pulp
After preparing the area, we will use special instruments to access the pulp chamber of the affected tooth. We’ll then remove the infected pulp and clean the area with a disinfectant solution. Once the area is cleaned, we will fill the empty space with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha.
Sealing the Opening
Once the opening is filled, we will seal the area with a temporary filling to protect the treated tooth until the permanent filling can be placed. In most cases, dental crowns are used to cover the tooth to restore its appearance and function.
Recovery After Treatment
You should feel better right away after your endodontic treatment. However, you may feel mild discomfort for up to two weeks while the healing process takes place. During this time, you should take antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.
Oral Health Tips to Prevent Root Canal Infection
To prevent infections, dental decay, and other oral issues, we recommend following these simple oral hygiene tips:
- Brush twice daily with fluoride-containing toothpaste at least two times a day.
- Make sure to floss at least once daily to help remove food particles between your teeth.
- Avoid sugary and acidic foods, as this can increase the risk of cavities.
- Visit us for regular checkups and cleanings to ensure healthy teeth and gums.
Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canal Procedures
How long does the treatment take?
Root canal therapy takes about thirty to sixty minutes to complete. The length of the procedure depends on how deep the infection goes into the tooth. If the infection is limited to the outer layer of the tooth, the process usually takes less than one hour. On the other hand, if the infection reaches the tooth’s inner layers, the entire dental treatment might last longer.
Does the procedure hurt?
With modern techniques and anesthetics, the pain associated with root canal therapy is minimal. Most patients report feeling only slight discomfort during the dental procedure.
What happens if I don’t get my infected tooth treated?
The damage could spread further into the surrounding tissue if you do not receive proper care for your damaged or decayed tooth. This could lead to additional problems such as abscesses, swelling, and even tooth loss.
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
You don’t need to live with painful symptoms any longer. Schedule an appointment today with our office so that we can provide you with the best possible care.