An aching tooth can make your life miserable. Pain, difficulty eating, inability to sleep, headaches and earaches are some of the problems that often accompany a toothache. If you have any of these symptoms and suspect a damaged tooth, a trip to the dentist is in order to see if root canal treatment might be needed.
What is root canal therapy? Although it has gotten a bad reputation over the years, it is the best way to save your tooth once infection has set in. The cause for the problem can vary, including deep tooth decay, a faulty crown, trauma, or repeated dental procedures. Once the inside of the tooth called the pulp becomes damaged, root canal treatment is the ideal solution. If you don’t seek treatment, severe pain and possible tooth loss may be in your future.
During root canal therapy, the damaged tooth pulp is carefully removed so that the interior of the tooth can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Then the tooth is filled and sealed using a special material. Finally, the tooth is fully restored with a crown or filling to offer protection from future damage.
What are the positive outcomes of root canal treatment? First, it gives you back the complete function and natural appearance of your real tooth. You avoid getting a hole in your smile or needing a procedure like a dental implant. Root canal treatment restores your normal sensation and biting force, providing for efficient and painless chewing. This treatment also protects other teeth from receiving excessive wear, since your real tooth remains in place and able to take its fair share of tooth wear. Of course, treatment will also relieve the pain and other symptoms associated with your damaged tooth.
Root canal treatment is usually quite simple when performed by a qualified dental professional. Modern techniques allow the process to be as comfortable as just getting a normal filling. The procedure may be completed in only a couple of appointments and the end result will be a long-lasting, healthy tooth.
If you need a dentist in Baltimore contact us today
If you suspect you have an infected tooth, you might wonder if root canal treatment might be in your future. Do you have another option? Yes! One such alternative has been in existence for decades, but has only recently come to be more effective due to advancements in materials. This process is called pulp capping.
Pulp capping can help patients whose root infections have not yet reached the tooth’s nerve. Root infections begin when bacteria enters the pulp of the tooth through a crack or a large cavity. In a standard root canal procedure, the pulp and nerve of the tooth is hollowed out, cleaned and sealed, typically with a crown restoration.
With pulp capping, the nerve is preserved and the tooth is often repaired with a filling instead of a crown. Pulp capping allows the dentist to clean and protect the pulp, defending it from infection with medicine. With a successful pulp cap, the dentin of the tooth begins to regrow over the pulp cap. Advancements in the sealants used during these types of procedures has allowed for a greater percentage of success.
If you have a toothache, it’s important to see your dentist immediately. Pulp capping has a narrow window in which it can be performed. If your tooth is too infected, the pulp and nerve of your tooth may already be infected, and it’s too late for pulp capping to be effective.
A pulp cap is a far less invasive procedure than a root canal treatment or a tooth extraction, and there is less recovery time and tooth sensitivity following the treatment.
If you suspect you may have a tooth in trouble, talk to your dentist now. You might be able to save yourself a root canal treatment.
Our dental office is located in Baltimore
Have you been told that you may need a root canal treatment? Are you worried because of things you’ve heard in the media about how “awful” a root canal is? Don’t worry about what you’ve heard; endodontic therapy isn’t at all what you’d think. Let’s debunk some myths!
- Myth #1: Root canal treatment is very painful. This isn’t true! In fact, a root canal treatment is performed specifically to relieve a patient’s pain, not to cause more. After a root canal treatment, you might feel some tenderness, but the pain you felt when the damaged tissue and infection was still inside the tooth will be completely gone. Once the swelling from the procedure has gone down, you will be able to use your new tooth exactly the way you could use your natural tooth when it was completely healthy.
- Myth #2: Root canal therapy or other endodontic work can lead to disease elsewhere in the body. Another falsehood! Root canal treatments don’t spread disease to the rest of the body, rather, they remove infected tissue and bacteria from the body, preventing the affected tooth from becoming re-infected.
- Myth #3: Extraction is better than root canal treatment. Extraction is not preferred to root canal treatment! Whenever possible, it’s preferred to keep your natural tooth. Your natural tooth’s roots stimulate and preserve the bone of your jaw, as well as providing adequate support to the surrounding teeth. Dental implants or dental bridges can be problematic, both in function and in dietary restrictions. In fact, an extraction can lead to several prolonged appointments to perform replacement procedures, treatments that are far more involved than a root canal treatment.
Endodontic treatment is an extremely common dental procedure that can provide durable, long-lasting restorations that will function as your natural tooth did. If you believe you may need a root canal treatment, talk to your endodontist or dentist today to see how this successfully proven treatment can help you and your smile needs.
We look forward to seeing you in our Baltimore dental office
Sometimes a tooth is so severely damaged that the only way to save it is with root canal treatment. There is no reason to turn and run if your dentist advises this procedure. The treatment has advanced to the point that it’s often compared to getting a filling. There are certain steps that will be performed as part of nearly every root canal procedure.
X-rays may be taken as part of the diagnosis process or to determine the extent of damage. Once the dentist is ready to begin treatment, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the area throughout the procedure.
A rubber dam will be placed around the tooth to separate the area from the rest of the mouth, and to keep it dry from saliva. The tooth will be opened, often using a small dental drill, to gain access to the pulp inside the tooth. The damaged pulp will be removed, and if there is an abscess it will be drained.
Cleaning and filling
After the pulp is eliminated, the dentist will thoroughly clean the area. The root canal will be widened if needed to create an adequate space for the filling. Depending on the extent of the damage, this step of the process can take up to several hours to complete or it can be spread over more than one visit. A temporary filling is sometimes used to seal the area between visits. If infection is present, the dentist may prescribe antibiotics.
The temporary filling will be removed and the permanent filling placed to fully seal the tooth and prevent future infection. If the tooth has been filled at the root, the risk of breaking is higher so a crown may be recommended for protection.
Crowns help prevent further damage or fracturing. If needed, the tooth will be reduced somewhat to allow space for the crown. It will be held in place securely with dental cement.
After root canal treatment, the tooth should survive for many years. The procedure may be repeated if re-infection occurs.
If you live in the Baltimore area contact us today
If root canal treatment has been recommended for you, you’re probably a little nervous. Maybe you’re a LOT nervous, but if you’re thinking about putting off your treatment, don’t. If you need root canal therapy, the underlying conditions that necessitate it will not go away left untreated. In fact, they’ll just get worse and worse over time, causing you more pain and discomfort and potentially leading to more serious complications.
If you don’t treat the infection in your tooth, it will spread. Beginning at your tooth’s roots, it will travel to your jawbone and eventually to your healthy teeth. Your entire jawbone can be put at risk. By treating your infection promptly with root canal therapy, your mouth can be free of infection and you will begin the process of healing.
Serious diseases like heart disease and diabetes have been directly linked to gum disease. During pregnancy, many problems including low birth weight and premature birth can occur as a direct result of infection and bacteria in the mouth. Several types of cancers have all been shown to have a link to poor overall oral health. The mouth is truly the pathway for everything that goes into the body, and if it’s providing a steady stream of bacteria and infection to be spread throughout your body, it’s extremely problematic.
Don’t worry about pain following your procedure. Root canal therapies are meant to relieve pain, not cause it. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel after your mouth is infection-free.
If you ignore your infected tooth for long enough, it may either fall out on its own or need to be extracted. Missing teeth come with a long list of oral issues, including difficulties with bite alignment and speech only corrected with some kind of dental restoration.
Don’t wait to have your root canal treatment. Don’t open yourself up to the myriad of consequences that could result from postponing treatment.
If you live in the Baltimore area contact us today
If the prospect of a root canal procedure has you running for the hills, you may want to consider reading over this list of frequently asked questions before you end up cowering in a corner:
- What is root canal therapy? Root canal treatment is performed when decay or trauma has damaged a tooth causing it to die. A dentist or endodontist performs a procedure to remove the diseased or damaged pulp from the tooth and then refills the tooth cavity.
- Is root canal therapy painful? In reality, root canal treatment is intended to relieve pain, not cause it. Because the procedures are very similar, you should experience no more discomfort than having a cavity filled.
- What happens after root canal therapy? Your tooth may be slightly sensitive for a few days, but over-the-counter pain relievers are usually sufficient to relieve any pain you may experience. In order for your tooth to return to full functionality, a crown or other restoration will need to be placed after the root canal therapy is performed.
- What if I opt not to choose root canal therapy? Untreated damage or infection in your tooth can travel through the roots and lead to an abscess or larger infection.
- Is there an alternative to root canal therapy? You could relieve the pain and infection by having your tooth removed. However, this can cause problems such as bone loss, migration of teeth, and bite problems.
In the case of a severely damaged or decayed tooth, the ideal solution is to save your natural tooth through root canal therapy and restoration. Contrary to popular belief, a root canal procedure is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed in a cavity, and can have enormous benefits to your long-term oral health. Consult with your dental professional to get answers to any other questions or concerns you may have regarding root canal therapy so you can alleviate your fears and return to your healthy smile.
We look forward to seeing you in our Baltimore dental office