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 in Centuria.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy, also called endodontic therapy (“endo” = inside, plus “dontic” = tooth), is often needed when bacteria and decay have reached the innermost section of the tooth (the pulp chamber), or when a tooth has sustained a deep crack that leaves the pulp chamber vulnerable to infection.
The inside of a tooth contains living tissues, such as blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerve endings, which is why you feel pain when the area becomes infected or damaged.
It Relieves Your Pain
The wonderful thing about root canal therapy is that it brings your toothache to an end, for good. During root canal therapy, the living tissues are removed from the inside of the tooth so there will be no more nerve endings to feel pain.
Severe pain in a specific tooth may be the result of a crack or fracture, but it’s usually caused by a 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 root canal therapy.
How Decay Affects Your Entire Tooth
Most people are familiar with what happens when bacteria infects the surface of your tooth. It causes a cavity on the crown of the tooth that requires a dentist to remove the bacteria and fill the decayed portion of the tooth.
If the cavity doesn’t receive a filling, however, the bacteria will work its way into the various layers of the tooth. After completely infecting the crown, the pulp of the tooth will be affected next. This can cause extreme pain in your tooth’s nerves and eventually lead to gum disease or even tooth loss.
By receiving treatment, you’ll experience relief from the pain and can become a happier and healthier person.
Symptoms and 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, there are others as well that shouldn’t be ignored.
Contact our office if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Severe pain while chewing
- Sensitivity to extreme food or beverage temperatures
- Redness or tenderness around the gums
- Discoloration of the tooth
The Root Canal Process
After Dr. Vargas examines your teeth and determines that you need root canal therapy, you’ll schedule an appointment with her to have your tooth cleaned and restored.
When you return for your treatment, we’ll offer you an anesthetic to ensure you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. If you suffer from dental anxiety or get nervous during dental procedures, you may be offered sedation.
During the procedure, Dr. Vargas will use precise dental tools to create a small hole in the crown of your tooth. This will be used to access the inside of your tooth where the bacteria is located. The bacteria and infected pulp will be removed, and a rubber-like material will be inserted 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.
When Tooth Extraction May Be Necessary
While our goal at River Birch Dental is to save as many of your natural teeth as possible, sometimes a tooth becomes too infected and the only option is to extract it. If the decay has compromised too much of your tooth, it may be impossible to repair. Fractured or cracked teeth are also situations where tooth extraction might be necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dr. Vargas will provide you with an anesthetic or sedation to ensure you don’t feel any pain during the root canal therapy procedure.
It’s normal to feel some soreness or pain after the procedure, and this can be treated with over the counter medication. However, if the pain persists, contact our office to have your tooth re-evaluated.
Sometimes a tooth that’s received root canal therapy can become re-infected. If this happens, Dr. Vargas will remove the current filling and redo the procedure.
A hot tooth refers to spontaneous severe pain due to a variety of factors. If someone has a hot tooth, they may require a higher dosage of anesthetic to eliminate the pain during a procedure.
If your tooth becomes discolored, severely painful, or causes bad breath, this may mean that your tooth is no longer receiving blood flow and is therefore dead.
Swelling around your teeth and gums could signal that your tooth is dead.
Like any procedure, you may experience side effects after receiving root canal therapy. Headaches can usually be treated easily with ibuprofen, but you should contact our office if they become more severe.
Root canal therapy will take one to two appointments depending on if you need a dental crown or not. Each will take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.