Root canal therapy is often an effective way to relieve and even save a damaged tooth and avoid more costly and extensive oral health concerns.
Why A Root Canal Might Be Necessary
When the tooth’s pulp becomes infected due to a deep cavity, trauma to the tooth, a cracked tooth, damaged crown or repeat dental procedures, harmful bacteria can enter the pulp, and it can become damaged or even die. This often causes pain especially while eating, drinking or biting down. Without proper treatment, the tooth cannot heal itself, and the pain persists. More extensive problems including an abscess or bone and tooth loss are even possible.
Root Canal Procedure
A root canal is a dental procedure that typically saves the tooth. With expert dental care, the dead pulp is removed, the area is cleaned and disinfected with precision and the root canal is reshaped. The root canal is then filled with a rubber-like material to prevent recontamination, and the tooth is sealed with a new filling. At a second visit, oftentimes, a crown is placed.
Root canal therapy offers many advantages including:
- Saving the natural tooth
- Allowing for more efficient chewing
- Returning normal bite and chewing sensations
- Providing the mouth with a more natural, attractive appearance
- Protecting surrounding teeth from infection and damage
What to Expect
At the first visit, the patient’s mouth is examined, and the tooth is x-rayed. Anesthetic is then administered to the area being treated to keep the patient comfortable throughout the procedure. Once the tooth and root are numbed, a dental dam is placed to isolate the tooth, keeping it clean and dry for the duration of the root canal procedure. Using precision dental instruments, a dentist will then make a small incision in the crown of the tooth and clean the damaged pulp from the pulp chamber and disinfect the area, followed by the reshaping of the root canal. Once the root canal is fully prepared, a rubber-like material known as gutta-percha is placed with an adhesive in order to fully seal the root canal and prevent the reintroduction of any bacteria. The tooth is then sealed with a filling.
At a follow up visit, the tooth is examined to ensure the root canal was effective, and a crown is placed to restore the tooth to full functionality.
While completing a root canal procedure, the Oso Marguerite Dental Team in Mission Viejo keeps patients comfortable using the latest dental technology and modern anesthetics to numb the area or offer sedation. After the procedure, many report slight sensitivity that is typically relieved using over the counter pain relief medications such as Tylenol. Until a crown is placed, it is best to avoid biting or chewing on that tooth as it is susceptible to fracture and further damage. Once the permanent crown is placed, a patient can resume their normal routine.
Root canals can help patients to save damaged teeth, regain full functioning of the mouth and retain a more beautiful smile. In most cases, they are quite effective, offering many benefits and a significant cost savings versus other, more extensive treatment options.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the benefit of a root canal rather than just extraction of the tooth?
The single biggest advantage a root canal offers is it allows you to keep your natural tooth. While modern tooth replacements (dental implants) are attractive and effective, they cannot compare to your own tooth. In most cases, a root canal is also a more cost-effective option than an extraction, saving you time and money in the dental chair.
Will a root canal hurt?
Oso Marguerite Dental’s number one goal is to keep our patients comfortable while performing necessary procedures that benefit the health of their mouth. During a root canal, we use modern techniques and local anesthesia to minimize any uncomfortable feelings. We also take the time to fully discuss the procedure in advance and answer any questions, helping you to feel more comfortable with your choice.
Can I expect any sensitivity after my root canal procedure?
Mild to moderate sensitivity to hot and cold as well as some pressure are common following a root canal procedure. These sensations typically last only a few days, and they can be relieved with over the counter pain relievers such as Ibuprofen. If you are wearing a temporary crown following your root canal treatment, chewing on the opposite side of the mouth can help to prevent any feelings of discomfort until the permanent crown is placed.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
If you have lingering sensitivity to hot and cold, persistent tooth pain or discomfort that wakes you up at night, a root canal might be the right choice. To know for sure, call and schedule an evaluation with Oso Marguerite Dental.