While root canal therapy is not something people get excited about, they are essential and an effective part of any dental treatment plan when you have a tooth that becomes infected or damaged. To better understand this procedure and the signs it might be needed, continue reading on.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal treatment, also known as root canal therapy, is a treatment designed to remove bacteria from an infected root canal and prevent reinfection of the tooth. This process is done in order to save the natural tooth. If you undergo a root canal, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed.
Understanding the Treatment
Inside your tooth, beneath the white enamel and hard outer layer is a soft tissue known as pulp. This tissue contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue, which help grow the root of your tooth during its development. The American Academy of Endodontists (AAE) explains that a fully developed tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the surrounding tissues.
Today, modern root canal treatments are very similar to having a routine filling and are usually done in one appointment, depending on the condition of your tooth. This treatment is effective and much more painless than what it used to be.
Once your adult teeth come in, the nerves inside of them don’t do much. Removing the pulp can be done safely without affecting the integrity of your tooth.
During this procedure, a dentist will remove the infected and damaged dental pulp, fill the tooth, then cap it with a dental crown to protect the inside of your tooth and restore the natural structure and appearance. This therapy has gotten a negative connotation attached to its name over the years, however, our dentists work hard to make sure that you are comfortable and that the treatment is as painless as possible.
Signs You Need a Root Canal
This therapy is a common treatment for patients who have cracked teeth, a deep cavity, or issues from a previous filling. AAE notes that patients generally need a root canal when they notice their teeth are sensitive, but others symptoms could be:
- Severe pain while chewing or biting
- Pimples on the gums
- A chipped or cracked tooth
- Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the sensation has been removed
- Swollen or tender gums
- Deep decay or darkening of the gums
Risk of No Treatment
If you begin to notice the signs above and don’t seek root canal therapy, you could risk many consequences. When you skip treatment, the risks can be severe. The infection can spread from the tooth to the gums and jaw bone, this can lead to loss of the tooth or, in severe cases, losing a portion of your jaw. Further, not having a root canal treatment done when needed has been linked to:
- Dental abscesses
- Joint pain
- Heart attack
If the infection in your tooth becomes severe enough before you seek treatment, sometimes the only answer is having that tooth fully removed. If this is the only option based on the severity of your infection, you will then have to discuss tooth replacement options such as dental implants.
Once your treatment is complete, you should feel considerably less pain in your tooth. However, for a couple of hours afterwards, your mouth will still feel slightly numb. Many people find that they can go right back to work, school, and their other activities. However, you may want to wait to eat for a couple of hours until the numbness subsides.
Additionally, for the first few days following the treatment, you might find that the tooth still feels slightly sensitive. This can usually be eased with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen.
Until your treatment is completely done with a permanent filling in place or a crown, WebMD explains, try to avoid chewing with the tooth. This will help keep the area clean and prevent a fragile tooth from breaking before it can be fully restored.
Make an Appointment with Young Family Dental
If you are experiencing tooth pain or other signs of an infection, make an appointment today with one of our Young Family Dental locations. With five convenient locations throughout Utah, we’re here to serve you in the communities of Orem, American Fork, Saratoga Springs, Riverton, and West Jordan. Contact us today to learn more about how we can fix your tooth pain.