Do You Have a Toothache? You Might Need Root Canal Therapy
Are you experiencing a painful toothache? If so, we feel for you. Few types of pain are as excruciating as a bad toothache. We would love to help you bring an end to your pain, so we provide both routine and emergency root canal appointments at River Birch Dental.
Severe pain in a specific tooth may be the result of a crack or fracture, but it’s usually caused by bacterial infection. When a tooth becomes infected, it’s imperative that you have it treated promptly. Ignore a toothache for too long, and you may end up needing an extraction instead of a root canal.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is also called endodontic therapy (“endo” = inside, plus “dontic” = tooth). This treatment is needed when bacteria and decay have reached the innermost section of the tooth: the pulp chamber. It may also be needed when a tooth has sustained a deep crack that leaves the pulp chamber vulnerable to infection.
The inside of the tooth contains living tissues, such as blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerve endings, (hence the pain you feel). A cavity that only penetrates the enamel can be treated with a standard filling treatment, but a cavity that reaches the pulp chamber requires endodontic therapy to clear the infection from the tooth. Therefore, if you are feeling constant pain or soreness, there’s a good chance you’ll need a root canal.
If an infected tooth is not treated with root canal therapy, there’s a very good chance it will eventually need to be extracted. Beyond losing the tooth, you also put your overall health at risk by ignoring an infection. Since the pulp chamber contains blood vessels, the infection may spread to the gum tissue and cause an abscess to form. In severe cases, the infection can even spread to your major organs.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
There are several separate steps to a root canal. We have to make sure we remove all of the infected tissues from the inside of the tooth, so a root canal takes more time than a simple dental filling. However, we always provide a local anesthetic injection to block the nerve before we begin the process. You may feel some vibration or pressure during the root canal, but you should not feel any pain. If you experience any painful sensations, let us know immediately and we will reassess the situation.
After your examination, x-rays, and anesthetic injection, your root canal treatment will involve the following steps.
- The tooth is treated, to remove bacteria and decayed tooth matter from the enamel.
- The living tissues are removed from the pulp chamber and the canals of the root(s).
- The inside of the tooth is smoothed and sanitized to ensure the infection has been removed.
- The empty chamber is filled with a rubber-like substance called gutta percha.
- The filled tooth is sealed with dental cement and a filling. If much of the tooth’s structure has been damaged, the tooth may require a dental crown to complete the restoration.
Sometimes a root canal requires two appointments: one to remove the infection, and another to fill the tooth, a few days later. Many root canal treatments can be completed in one sitting, but it all depends on your unique circumstances. When we complete your root canal we will explain what your situation requires.
Why You Should Look Forward to Your Appointment
The wonderful thing about root canal therapy is that it brings your toothache to an end, for good. Since the living tissues are removed from the tooth, there will be no more nerve endings to feel any pain. Technically, a tooth treated with endodontic therapy is considered a “dead” tooth. However, your tooth will look, feel, and act the same as your other teeth, and will continue to serve you well for years to come.
If you have a toothache, come to River Birch Dental. We will examine the tooth and take an x-ray to determine whether a root canal is required. Call our Centuria, WI dental office at 715-646-2161 to make an appointment.