A toothache can ruin your life, at least until you have treatment that relieves the pain. Headaches, mouth pain, or inability to chew can all accompany a tooth problem. It is not unusual for tooth pain to be linked to tooth decay, and when it becomes advanced you just can’t ignore it. This is when root canal therapy is valuable.
What is the procedure?: Root canal treatment focuses on the pulp cavity, which is the inside of the tooth. When the pulp is infected or inflamed, it needs to be completely removed from the tooth in order for it to heal. It doesn’t matter if the damage to the pulp results from severe decay, tooth fracture, faulty crown, repeated dental procedures, or trauma. Even if the damage isn’t visible or causing unbearable pain, the bottom line is that the interior of the tooth must be cleaned out, disinfected and sealed to prevent future infection. A crown is typically placed on top of the tooth to protect it and complete the procedure.
Why is it necessary?: If left untreated, an infected pulp can lead to intense pain or spread to other parts of the body. Root canal treatment is the best way to save the tooth and restore its function. Other benefits of the procedure are maintaining the tooth’s natural look, protecting other teeth from excessive wear, restoring normal chewing ability, and allowing normal sensation and biting force.
How long does it take?: The procedure is more routine than you might think. An experienced dental professional can complete the process is one or two appointments, depending on your specific case. Once the procedure is complete, your repaired tooth should last as long as the rest of your teeth.
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One of the most misunderstood procedures in dentistry is root canal treatment. If your dentist recommends this procedure, you might be quick to turn to the internet or other sources to learn about it. Unfortunately there is a lot of unreliable information out there, which can scare you away from needed treatment.
There are some common myths that circulate about root canal therapy. Instead of avoiding treatment, learn the truth about this procedure that may be the most effective way to save a damaged tooth.
Myth: Root canal treatment is very painful.
Truth: This procedure often serves to relieve pain instead of creating it. With the anesthetics and sedation dentistry available today, in most cases the procedure feels like simply getting a filling.
Myth: You don’t need root canal treatment unless you are experiencing severe tooth pain.
Fact: Pain is not always present when root canal therapy is advised by your dentist. A tooth that has died may no longer trigger pain, but treatment is necessary to eliminate infection and save the tooth. Diagnostic tests are available to help your dentist diagnose tooth problems even when pain is not present.
Myth: The benefits of root canal treatment are short-lived.
Fact: This treatment provides durable and long-lasting results, potentially for a lifetime. Since the tooth is usually topped with a crown, it can be protected indefinitely.
Myth: Root canal treatment causes illnesses.
Fact: This is one of the most common misconceptions you might run across on the internet. Based on very old research that has been proven to be wrong, the myth still exists that root canal therapy might cause various diseases. Instead, root canal treatment is safe and only improves your oral and overall health.
Myth: Tooth extraction is an adequate alternative to root canal therapy.
Fact: Dentists agree that saving your natural tooth is almost always preferred over a traumatic procedure like tooth extraction. The benefits of keeping your restored real tooth are better than having a hole in your smile or requiring tooth replacement solutions.
Root canal treatments are specifically designed to relieve the tooth pain associated with an infected tooth root. Patients come in with pain, and often leave the procedure with less discomfort than before. However, if you’ve recently had a root canal treatment on one or more of your teeth, you might be experiencing discomfort following the procedure. Fortunately, there are things you can do at home to take care of it.
Are your gums sore, tender or swollen surrounding the affected tooth? This is likely the result of the tiny metal clips that affix a rubber dam around the tooth, protecting it and protecting your mouth. The clips are attached along the gum line, and can leave tiny bruises or sometimes small cuts in the soft gum tissue. This pain should alleviate within two days of the treatment.
Is the tooth itself sore? This is a common occurrence and is typically the result of an inflammation of the mouth tissues that encase the tooth root. The tools used by the endodontist to perform the procedure can irritate the tissues.
Both of these types of pain can be dealt with by several over-the-counter analgesics. The ones that are most recommended to treat dental pain are those that possess anti-inflammatory agents: naproxen sodium, ibuprofen or aspirin, etc. If you are also taking narcotics prescribed by your dentist, do not take any further medication, over-the-counter or prescription, until you have checked with your dentist. Dangerous reactions can occur.
If you have been prescribed antibiotics, do not stop until you have completed each recommended dose. This ensures that your tooth remains free of infection and can heal thoroughly.
Ask your endodontist if you have other concerns about treating your post-root canal treatment pain.
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A toothache can make everything seem terrible. Your mouth hurts, your head aches, you can’t eat what you want, you can’t sleep comfortably – in general, you feel awful! Your tooth pain may be a result of decay that has caused an infection in your tooth pulp, calling for root canal therapy.
What does that mean exactly? When the inside of your tooth or the pulp becomes infected, it causes the tooth to deteriorate and cause pain and sensitivity. Action is needed to eliminate the infection and protect the tooth from worse damage. Root canal treatment is the best solution because the damaged pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and restored.
To accomplish a root canal procedure, your dentist will drill a small hole in your tooth to access the pulp and expertly remove it. Once the area is cleaned and disinfected, your tooth will be filled with a special material and sealed for protection. Finally, a dental crown is usually placed on top to complete the root canal procedure. You are left with a fully repaired and protected tooth.
What benefits does root canal treatment provide?
Pain is eliminated with the repair of your tooth and removal of infection.
Your ability to chew and bite foods will return to normal.
You will no longer experience tooth sensitivity to hot or cold items.
The damaged tooth will be restored so that it looks natural in your smile.
Your other teeth won’t have excessive wear to make up for the damaged tooth.
With the advances in dentistry making root canal therapy faster and less painful, your procedure may be completed in as little as one trip to the dentist. Once the process is complete, you can expect your fully restored tooth to last as long as the rest of your teeth.
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If you are about to undergo root canal treatment to save a compromised tooth, your oral surgeon or dentist will likely provide you with a list of aftercare instructions. It is vitally important that you follow these recommendations to avoid complications and ensure the success of your endodontic treatment.
There are a few tips you can follow to speed up your recovery time, promote healing, and prevent serious dental problems and infections following root canal treatment:
Do not chew on the treated side of your mouth until all of the numbness from the anesthetic has worn off completely.
To manage swelling, apply an ice pack or bag of frozen peas on the treated area for thirty minutes. Repeat once an hour for about fifteen minutes each time until swelling subsides.
For several nights after treatment, keep your head elevated while sleeping.
Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water regularly for the first few days after root canal treatment.
Refrain from smoking for a minimum of 24 hours and try to curb tobacco usage as much as possible during the healing period.
Avoid strenuous physical activity or exercise for 48 hours after your root canal procedure.
Contact your dentist immediately if you experience any excessive swelling or pain, the appearance of a rash or hives, or a return of original symptoms. By listening to the recommendations of your dentist, and following these extra tips, you can assure yourself the best chance of a rapid and complication-free recovery from root canal treatment.
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A tooth that has been damaged by decay or trauma may need endodontic treatment, also called root canal therapy, in order to save the tooth. Although it may sound like a scary procedure, advances in dentistry have made it a much less painful or upsetting process than it used to be. This treatment is worth it to restore your smile as naturally as possible.
How do you know you might need endodontics? You may experience pain in the tooth, sensitivity to hot or cold foods or beverages, or swelling in the area. Severe cases may have a discharge of pus near the tooth. However, not all cases of a badly damaged tooth result in noticeable symptoms. That’s one reason it’s important to maintain regular checkups with your dentist, who will pick up on problems with a tooth that you may not realize is damaged. Examination and testing such as X-rays can help diagnose a tooth that is in dire need of repair.
When possible, dentists strive to save your real tooth. Sometimes the best way to do that is through root canal therapy, which involves removing the damaged tooth pulp from the interior of the tooth. Using local anesthesia to make you comfortable, the dentist or endodontist uses special tools to enter the root canal, remove the pulp, and clean the area thoroughly. Once the tooth is ready, a crown is usually placed on top of the existing tooth to protect it from future damage and to complete the process. Sometimes antibiotics are prescribed if an infection was present to help ensure that you are in the best of health.
Endodontic treatment is often compared by patients to simply getting a regular tooth filling. The procedure is usually completed in one office visit and it won’t be long before you are back to your normal routine, with a fully restored natural tooth in your smile.
We treat patients from Baltimore and the surrounding area