Root Canal Treatment: General Overview

Root Canal Preparation

Root canals… Most of us pale significantly when we hear those two words, especially from the mouth of a dentist. However, aside from the fact that most stories about painful root canals are untrue because root canals actually do not hurt, dentists also point out that the temporary discomfort you may feel following a root canal is far less than what you would otherwise have experienced if you let a root canal problem go untreated!

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The practice of dentistry that deals with root canal problems, treatment and surgery is called endodontics. This specialization revolves around the health of the dental pulp. A root canal is often necessary when the dental pulp is damaged, injured or infected. Other kinds of treatments that endodontists perform include apicoectomies, pulpotomies and pulpectomies, root canal retreatments, apexifications and endodontic surgery. The aim is to diagnose, prevent and treat diseases and injuries to the dental pulp.

Roughly 14 million people undergo root canals each year, making this procedure one of the most common types of dental treatments. That being said, many people today still put off necessary root canals because of the fear of discomfort.  The truth is the discomfort from a diseased or damaged tooth is much worse than anything that occurs at a dental office.

The first step is to have an endodontist perform a thorough examination.  We will assess the tooth damage and provide you with all available treatment options. Then, we work with you to minimize out-of-pocket costs and maximize results.

Good Root Canal Candidates

Good Root Canal Candidates A damaged tooth, with even a hairline crack, often allows bacteria to penetrate the pulp and infect the nerve of the tooth.  So, almost any damaged tooth requires some form of advanced therapy to ensure sound tooth health. A patient who exhibits symptoms of these are not merely good candidates for root canals, but they likely require root canal treatment. However, patients who have a severe fracture in a toot, or in whom the decay is extensive are not good candidates for root canals. They require different endodontic procedures, or even extraction and eventual restoration.

Summary:

  • Patients with hairline cracks and similar endodontic problems are good candidates for root canal treatment.
  • Patients with severe fractures on their teeth or extensive decay are not good root canal candidates.

Common Symptoms

Common Symptoms Tooth pain that is a result of an endodontic issue can range from mild to severe. Some common symptoms are:

  • Hot and cold sensitivity
  • Painful gums
  • Pain when chewing
  • Pain so severe that it wakes you up

Once infection sets in, many patients experience severe sensitivity to extreme temperatures.  There may also be persistent swelling around the gum line. However, in other cases, the damage is not readily visible, and only a digital X-ray reveals the true nature and extent of the damage to a tooth.

If left untreated, a damaged tooth can cause major complications. Initially, the swelling spreads to other areas of the mouth, and eventually to the face and neck. Shortly thereafter, as the infection worsens, bone loss starts to set in around the nerve. In many cases, the resulting drainage seeps into the skin.

Summary:

  • Common symptoms are sensitivity, painful gums and pain while chewing.
  • Untreated root canals can lead to more severe symptoms like swelling in the face and neck, spread of the infection and bone loss.

What to Expect During a Root Canal Treatment

What to Expect During a Root Canal Treatment A root canal typically requires only one office visit. After a thorough evaluation, your endodontist will gently numb the area.  Many patients describe the mild discomfort associated with this to that of a regular filling.

After clearing out bacteria and other debris, our root canal specialist seals the tooth to prevent further damage or decay. The inside of the tooth is sealed as well, to further fortify the area. If further work is needed, such as cosmetic restoration, these procedures can be performed as well.

Summary:

  • Expect one or two visits in all for a root canal treatment.
  • Patients typically experience some mild discomfort that dissipates in a few days.

After a Root Canal

After a Root Canal Many patients are amazed at the difference between a damaged and a healthy tooth.  The discomfort patients lived with before their root canal procedure dissipates almost immediately.

In those first few days after the procedure, over-the-counter pain relievers are normally more than enough to relieve any lingering discomfort. It is also a good idea to chew on the other side of one’s mouth in those first 72 to 96 hours.

Summary:

  • Common symptoms are sensitivity, painful gums and pain while chewing.
  • Untreated root canals can lead to more severe symptoms like swelling in the face and neck, spread of the infection and bone loss.

 If you or a loved one is suffering from dental pain, do not suffer needlessly. Please contact Precision Endodontics for a screening so we can start treating you.

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