Do You Have a Toothache? You Might Need Root Canal Therapy
Patients experiencing frequent and severe toothaches may be suffering from an infected tooth. Not only do infected teeth cause pain, but they also put your health at risk for serious complications. Fortunately, root canal therapy can help stop the infection in its tracks.
At River Birch Dental, Dr. Vargas and our expert dental team can perform this treatment to eliminate the infection and preserve your natural tooth. Read our guide to root canal treatments to learn why this is one dental visit you shouldn’t put off.
What Is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy, also called endodontic therapy, is often performed when bacteria and decay have reached the innermost section of a tooth or when a tooth has sustained a deep crack that leaves the dental pulp vulnerable to infection. The dental pulp is the center of the tooth, containing blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerve endings, which is why you feel pain when the area becomes infected or damaged.
When a tooth becomes infected, you must have it treated promptly. During a root canal treatment, Dr. Vargas will remove the infected pulp to preserve the natural tooth. If this is ineffective or performed too late, the tooth may need to be extracted to prevent the infection from spreading.
Signs You May Need Root Canal Therapy
Knowing the signs of an infected root canal is the first step to finding relief. While severe pain may be an obvious symptom, other signs shouldn’t be ignored. Contact our Centuria office right away if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Severe pain while chewing
- Sensitivity to hot and cold food or beverage temperatures
- Redness or tenderness around the gums
- Discoloration of the tooth
- A pimple (fistula) on the gums
The Root Canal Therapy Process
In most cases, a root canal treatment can be completed in one visit to our Centuria office depending on your oral health needs. You’ll first undergo an initial consultation with Dr. Vargas where she’ll create your personalized treatment plan. After Dr. Vargas examines your teeth and determines that you need root canal therapy, you’ll schedule an appointment at our Centuria office to have your tooth cleaned and restored.
Dr. Vargas will begin by administering a local anesthetic to ensure your procedure is pain-free. We also offer nitrous oxide sedation to patients with dental anxiety. You can discuss your preference for sedation with Dr. Vargas at your consultation.
Once the numbness sets in, your Centuria dentist will use precise dental tools to access your tooth’s pulp. She’ll remove any bacteria and infected tissue from the pulp, and insert a rubber-like material to support the tooth. Sometimes root canal therapy leaves your tooth fragile, so a dental crown may be placed during a separate appointment to strengthen it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically, root canal therapy will take one to two appointments depending on if you need a dental crown or not. Each tooth will take anywhere from one hour to an hour and a half to clean. Dr. Vargas will provide you with an estimated treatment time at your initial consultation.
Root canal treatments have gained a bad reputation for being complicated, painful procedures, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Dr. Vargas will administer either a local anesthetic or nitrous oxide sedative beforehand to ensure you don’t feel any pain while she works.
You may experience slight discomfort once the numbness subsides, but any pain should fade within a few days. During this time, you can alleviate any soreness with over-the-counter pain relievers and cold compresses.
Depending on your oral health and treatment details, you may be able to resume your normal activities the day after your root canal treatment. Most patients experience mild soreness for about one week following their procedures, but this pain can be easily managed so you can carry out your day with comfort.