If you are suffering from a severe dental infection, a root canal is a treatment your dentist may recommend for saving your teeth. This is a treatment that garners many misconceptions. No need to fear, we have explained below all you need to know about root canal therapy, including what to expect both during and after having the procedure.
What is Root Canal Therapy and Why Might You Need it?
Root Canal Therapy is a procedure that is performed to salvage a tooth that is critically infected or decayed. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes it as a treatment for getting rid of bacteria as well as dead or dying tissue from your tooth. The purpose of and definition for this option is truly that simple.
Your dentist is very likely to suggest root canal therapy as a remedy when the pulp (and nerves) inside your tooth has become seriously infected by bacteria. A common causative factor is an untreated cavity that you have ignored for a long time resulting in infection. An infection may also be the result of an injury to the tooth or gums.
What Signs To Look For
Some signs of severe tooth infection are; the breakdown of the pulp or nerve tissue, an abscess, neck or facial swelling and bone loss. Some of these are infection signs and symptoms that may be easily visible to you, others require dental examination. If you suspect that you have a tooth infection, contact your dentist immediately to schedule an emergency dentist appointment.
In some cases, root canal therapy may be the only option to help you retain your teeth after becoming infected or decayed. Without proper treatment, avoiding tooth infection or even total loss of the tooth is impossible.
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If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this article it may be time to see Dr. Stout. Schedule an appointment with Stout Dentistry. Give us a call today at 704.332.7737.
What to Expect During the Procedure
It is likely that you may need to make more than one visit to a dental office for treatment. Your treatment will begin with an exam that includes the taking of an X-ray image of your tooth. This enables your dentist to have a better idea of what’s happening within your root canals. The imaging test can also reveal signs of an infection spreading to nearby bones, the gumline or other teeth.
The main procedure starts with the injection of local anesthesia to numb the area around the affected tooth in order to alleviate pain and reduce discomfort. There are many different options for anesthetics or numbing, your dentist will choose the best option for your individual case.
Administering The Treatment
After administering the anesthesia, your dentist or endodontist may then decide to place a rubber dam around the tooth to remove saliva and keep it dry. A very small drill is used to create a hole for accessing the inside of the tooth. It is through this hole that your dentist inserts files, of different sizes, into your tooth to get rid of damaged pulp inside along with bacteria, debris, and rotten nerve tissue. During the procedure, an antimicrobial solution or water will be used to flush out these unwanted elements.
The methodically cleaned chamber is temporarily filled once it becomes dry – a medication may be inserted before filling if there’s an infection. This filling will remain until it is time to put a sealant (often a material called gutta percha), permanent filling, permanent crown or another form of dental restoration.
Further restoration, such as dental crowns, usually follows weeks after the initial treatment is concluded.
What Happens After Root Canal Therapy?
You might have need for pain relievers in the days following this procedure because of sensitivity arising from inflammation, which is helpful for natural healing. This effect is more likely if you experienced pain before having the root canal therapy.
As for eating, you will also need to exercise caution to avoid breaking a tooth, especially before having a permanent filling or dental crown in place. Your dentist might also ask that you come back after some time for further examination to ensure the decay or infection has been well dealt with.
Good oral hygiene and regular visits to a dental office can go a long way in enhancing the benefits of root canal therapy. By taking these steps, you can prevent situations that will make the procedure unavoidable in the first place, even though it isn’t as painful as some people fear due to the use of anesthesia.
If you have further questions about how conditions that can affect your oral health, give Stout Dentistry, a family dentist in Charlotte, NC, a call today at 704.332.7737. Our friendly team will schedule an appointment to suit your schedule.
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