Your root canal is the chamber in the center of each of your teeth. Within this chamber is a soft area that contains both dental pulp and the nerve of your tooth. This is, however, not what most people think of when they hear “root canal.”
Root canal therapy is a general dentistry procedure in which infected pulp and damaged nerve tissue are removed from a tooth. When infection impacts the pulp chamber, a root canal becomes necessary to prevent the need for tooth extraction.
Signs of an Infected Tooth
In some cases, an infected tooth will be discovered during your regularly scheduled dental hygiene and cleaning appointments before any symptoms are present. However, in between appointments, you should contact our office immediately if you experience:
- Increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
- Severe toothache
- Tooth discoloration
- Swollen and tender gums around a particular tooth
- A pimple on the gums
These are all possible indications of a tooth infection and must be dealt with promptly to avoid serious oral health complications. Sometimes, severe infection requiring root canal therapy won’t cause any symptoms. For this reason, it’s important to be examined by a dentist regularly to prevent infection and other problems.
If you don’t receive a root canal treatment in time, it’s possible you require an extraction instead. There’s no way to save an infected tooth once it reaches a certain point. We highly recommend visiting us at the first sign of trouble so we can preserve your natural tooth.
The Root Canal Procedure
The root canal procedure has a bad reputation but is actually no more uncomfortable than a common dental filling procedure. Root canal treatment is performed under local anesthetic, but, because the nerve of the tooth is dead, this step is often more for your comfort than out of necessity.
Once you have been made comfortable, Dr. Clancy will make a small access hole in the infected tooth through which dental tools can be inserted to gently remove decay, bacteria, and the pulp. Occasionally during this process, we will use a medical solution to flush the pulp chamber as well.
Once the foundation of your tooth is cleaned, we will seal your tooth and fit you with a dental crown during this visit.
While every tooth is unique in its presentation, we work hard to minimize your time away from work and/or your family. We will complete this entire process in-office and cater the procedures to meet your particular needs.
Are Root Canals Painful?
Most patients think root canals feel painful. This is not true. The terrible stigma that surrounds root canals actually comes from the pain patients feel prior to their root canal. When your tooth becomes infected, it usually goes hand in hand with pain. The treatment doesn’t cause you any pain. Instead, it alleviates it. If you feel any anxiety about your upcoming root canal procedure because you believe it will feel painful, we can provide you with a drug-free way to relax with NuCalm.
Once your procedure is over, you might feel sore for days to come. you can alleviate this with over the counter pain relievers.
Preventing Root Canals
If you’ve ever had a root canal or want to avoid them at all costs, there are a few preventive steps you can take. For one, maintain good oral hygiene. This means brushing and flossing regularly as well as visiting the dentist every 6 months. If Dr. Clancy finds a cavity in your mouth, have it filled sooner than later. One of the main reasons you might need a root canal is an untreated cavity. Make sure to also use a fluoridated toothpaste to give your teeth extra protection from bacteria and infection.