Root Canal

Root Canal Therapy: What to Know

Do just the words “root canal therapy” make you cringe or cause you to pause? If so, you are not alone. However, it is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the dental field. There are over 15 million root canals done annually. But they are one of the most misunderstand-by patients- procedures performed.

What is a Root Canal?

Patients of all ages can need root canal treatments. Performed by either your dentist or an endodontist, it relieves pain caused by an abscessed tooth or infection. It involves removing the inflamed root, cleaning, and disinfecting the area then adding a filling.

Signs You Need a Root Canal

While individual symptoms may vary, there are signs that, if experienced, you will want to schedule a dentist appointment.

  • Root Canal Swollen or tender gums
  • Pimples on the gums
  • Deep decay or dark areas on the gums
  • A cracked or chipped tooth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the element is no longer near the gum.
  • Severe pain while chewing or biting
  • Swollen jaw
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Loose tooth
  • Lasting tooth pain
  • Pain when there is pressure

Understanding Root Canal Therapy

Many think a root canal therapy or treatment is painful. However, it is actually done to be a pain-relieving treatment. It usually takes between 30 -60 minutes, though in some cases might take more than one visit.

If you are having root canal therapy, it is important you follow the pre-visit instructions. These preemptive actions will include taking the prescribed antibiotic or anti-inflammatory meds, eating a healthy meal a few hours before the procedure, and not smoking (if applicable) for several days before the procedure.

The 3 steps of root canal therapy.

  1. Root CanalThe root canal is cleaned. After administering local anesthesia, your healthcare provider will make a small access hole. They then remove anything damaged, diseased, or dead.
  2. The filling process. Next, the dentist will shape and decontaminate the hollow area. The tooth is filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha, then sealed with adhesive cement.
  3. The crown is added. At this point, the tooth is fragile, so it is necessary to add a crown to protect the spot. The crown allows you to resume normal activities.

Upon root canal therapy completion, the nerve tissue is gone, and the tooth is dead. There will be no more infection or pain in that tooth “space”. It is then up to you to follow your dentist/endodontist’s aftercare steps.

Root canal therapy is beneficial for you and makes a difference in how you feel. So, don’t put it off. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed, schedule an appointment today.

Damaged Tooth

Saving a Damaged Tooth

A broken or cracked tooth can be extremely painful. The pain is often due to an exposed root. This causes sharp pain or tenderness- depending on a particular scenario. A damaged tooth may come from eating hard or crunchy foods, a fall, or due to oral health issues. But no matter the cause, the result is the same – intense pain and a need to get to the dentist’s office as soon as possible.

Temporary Home Remedies for a Damaged Tooth

  1. Broken or cracked tooth – Ignoring these issues can lead to infection and needing extensive dental work. But if your tooth cracks or breaks after hours, you may need to take temporary action. You can treat the pain and discomfort using paper towels or gauze to absorb the blood. Then, apply an ice pack to your cheek near the damaged tooth to reduce pain. It is also advised to take an OTC med such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  2. Knocked-out tooth – If you can find the tooth, pick it up by the top portion, never the root. Rinse it with water, a saline solution, or milk. Store the tooth in a plastic container with milk or your saliva so you can bring the tooth to our office. IMPORTANT: Do not store the tooth in water, as this will hasten its demise!  Contact our office immediately.
  3. Rinse out your mouth – No matter the problem, take a few minutes to rinse your mouth with warm water to remove any debris or dirt.
  4. Protecting your mouth against a damaged tooth – If you have cracked a tooth and have to wait to come to the office, you will want to protect your mouth. Head to a drugstore and pick up a kit that contains dental wax. Use the wax to cover the damaged tooth. You should also avoid chewing food on the injured side.Damaged Tooth

How Dentists Repair Damage or Cracked Teeth

  • Dental Bonding – Used for cracked, chipped, misshapen, gapped, and decaying teeth. Dental bonding uses a conditioning liquid on the damaged tooth then applying putty. Your dentist will mold and smooth the area, then use UV light to harden the composite. The tooth is then shaped and polished to match the rest of your teeth.
  • Veneers – The most common veneer is porcelain. The dentist will attach the veneer to the front of the tooth. A veneer will match your existing teeth and last up to 30 years.
  • Dental Crowns – These caps cover a damaged tooth to protect it from further deterioration. It prevents you from losing a cracked or chipped tooth.
  • Root Canal Therapy– This is the best approach for teeth cracked to the root. A root canal repairs the damage to the tooth and its tooth tissue. Upon finishing the root canal, a crown is placed over the damaged tooth.
  • Dental Bridge – If there are multiple teeth knocked out, it may be necessary to have a dental bridge built. A bridge requires at least one tooth (ideally two) for the bridgework to attach to.

You don’t want to sit back and see what happens next when you have a damaged tooth. You need to take action immediately. The team at Blashford Dentistry is here to help. We can assess the situation and determine the best course of action. Never hesitate to contact us about a dental concern. We are here to help you.