A root canal procedure limits the infection and keeps it from destroying the tooth. During the root canal treatment procedure, the dentist removes the inflamed or infected tissue, carefully cleans, disinfects, and shapes the root canal space inside the tooth, and then fills and seals this space.
It may take one or more appointments to complete the procedure. A protective restoration should be placed after root canal treatment has been completed in order to restore the tooth to function and help prevent tooth fracture.
At Kneib Dentistry, we think of a root canal as washing the invasive bacteria out of the root, filling it with a biocompatible material that soothes the area, then sealing it back up again. Top it off with a solid filling or a crown, and you're as good as new. That means you get to keep your tooth. And that's a good thing.
Many people flinch when their dentists tell them they need root canal therapy. While dentists are sympathetic to fears of pain, at Kneib Dentistry we also want you to know that root canal therapy has three purposes:
The root canal is actually a channel that runs from the root of the tooth, which connects to the bone, up to the top surface of the tooth. The canal contains blood vessels, nerves, and the complex cells that make up the living tissue inside the tooth. This lifeline inside the tooth is called the pulp.
When a tooth is decayed or cracked, bacteria can get to the pulp. The acid from the bacteria irritates the pulp and it becomes inflamed; it's the same process you watch when other parts of your body become infected. When the pulp tissue becomes inflamed, it's harder for blood to flow to the tissue, and the resulting pressure creates pain inside your tooth.
Root canal disease can manifest itself with a wide variety and combination of symptoms. Common symptoms of root canal disease include:
If you have any of these symptoms, it would be wise to visit us at Kneib Dentistry because you might have root canal disease or another dental problem. Some of these symptoms may also be attributable to decay, defective fillings, periodontal diseases, cracked teeth, or other tooth or bite-related problems. On other occasions, the symptoms may even be caused by disorders that are not related to the teeth.
For more information about how Kneib Dentistry can help you with your root canal problems, contact us and we will be happy to talk with you.
How does a tooth get infected?
There can be a number of causes for an infected tooth, including decay from a cavity, cracks or chips in the tooth, or tooth trauma. Bacteria penetrates the cracks and weak spots of the tooth and attacks the nerve. The symptoms of an infected tooth include sensitivity, toothaches, pain when biting/applying pressure to the tooth and swelling. A consultation with Kneib Dentistry can determine whether your infection requires root canal treatment.
What are alternative treatments for root canals?
The most common alternative is an extraction of the tooth itself, but it is not typically recommended if other parts of the tooth are still healthy and viable. The obvious downside of extraction is addressing how to replace the missing tooth, which can become more expensive. Other treatments can include an implant or bridge if the tooth cannot be saved. Otherwise, the last resort would be a removable partial or of course not replace it at all.
Does a root canal procedure hurt?
The presence of any pain is completely dependent on the anesthesia and how the particular patient responds to it. The area around the tooth will be numbed with a local anesthetic, alleviating much (or all) of the pain associated with it. In fact, many report that the tooth pain before the procedure was more intense than the procedure itself!
What is the aftercare for a root canal?
It all depends on what was placed after the root canal procedure. In some cases, a temporary filling or crown may be placed, which is more fragile. In others, a permanent filling or crown might be cemented on. It should only take a few days for your tooth to fully heal after a root canal. In that time, be sure to keep your mouth and teeth clean, avoid hard, sticky, sugary, or acidic food and drinks, and try to chew your food on the opposite side if you are experiencing discomfort. If you continue to experience severe discomfort, swelling, or any other unusual symptoms after 5 days, contact us to make an emergency appointment.
What should I do if my tooth becomes infected after a root canal?
Although root canals have high success rates, it is possible that the tooth became compromised post-procedure, and bacteria managed to slip through the cracks. Be sure to contact us to make an emergency appointment for retreatment. You may also need to be prescribed antibiotics to help fight the infection.