A root canal is a common dental treatment used to save a tooth after it has become infected or severely decayed. The first sign of infection might be a mild toothache that lasts weeks, or longer. You might also find that drinking hot or cold beverages triggers a distinctly sharp pain.
Dr. Ana Chester and Dr Amy Caicco at Chester Family Dentistry provide expert dental treatments of all kinds. Their care and expertise ensures you receive the best quality care that restores your oral health and makes the pain disappear.
What is a root canal?
At the center of your tooth is soft tissue and nerves known as pulp. The chamber housing the pulp is a hollow area inside your tooth and extends from the center of your tooth down to the roots.
A root canal can be warranted when bacteria and decay set up within the pulp area of your tooth. The infection that results is what causes swelling, pain, and spreading infection. During a root canal treatment, your dentist removes this infected pulp from the inner tooth and replaces it with sterile dental material.
What happens during the treatment?
Your dentist usually takes an X-ray of your tooth to determine if you need root canal treatment. Sometimes the symptoms of an infected canal can be confused for other conditions. If they confirm that you need a root canal, they begin the procedure by numbing your mouth with local anesthesia. A rubber dam is placed over your teeth to keep the treatment area clean and free from saliva and debris.
Your dentist then creates a small opening in your tooth to reach the pulp chamber and removes the nerves and soft tissues. The roots are then thoroughly cleaned to fight any further infection. Once the chamber is clear, your dentist fills it with a sterile material. The filling material is called gutta-percha, a latex-based material that serves to hold the chamber together along with sealing cement.
After the root canal treatment, your dentist will add a crown to protect your tooth from fracturing and add strength. The root canal procedure may take one or two appointments to complete.
Following the procedure
Most of the time, patients don’t feel any substantial pain after the procedure. After the anesthesia wears off, your gums around the tooth may be sore. If this is the case, you should chew with the opposite side of your mouth for a few days to give your tooth a rest. Any further pain should be manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers.
A root canal treatment can last a lifetime as long as you have a crown and practice good oral hygiene. Follow up appointments are necessary to ensure the canal doesn’t become reinfected.
Stay on top of your oral health. Make an appointment with Chester Family Dentistry, by calling the office or booking online.