Root canal therapy is applied to restore and preserve a severely decayed or infected tooth. Deep cavities and injuries can crack a tooth, causing the tooth’s insides to become infected. When the infection reaches the tooth pulp, it damages the pulp’s blood vessels and nerves. This, in turn, destroys bones around the tooth and causes pain and swelling. For these infections and their symptoms, you require root canal therapy.
What is root canal therapy?
Root canal therapy treatment involves opening the tooth and removing infected and damaged pulp. Your dentist cleans, shapes, fills, and seals the interior of your tooth’s root. Meanwhile, while your tooth is highly infected, your dentist prescribes medication before the root canal procedure.
In the case your tooth goes untreated, the tissues surrounding your tooth become infected. As a result, the infected tissues form abscesses, suffer increasing pain, and eventually, you lose your tooth. Root canal therapy saves your tooth for years of continued use.
Root canal procedures earned their name from the root canal inside the tooth, its natural cavity containing pulp, nerves and blood vessels. Once your tooth grows through your gums, you do not need the tooth’s nerve for healthy functioning. Fortunately, removal of the nerve doesn’t affect your eating, drinking or the tooth itself.
The process of root canal therapy includes first taking X-rays in the dentist’s office. These images show the root canal’s shape and whether infections are in surrounding bone. Local anesthesia numbs the tooth’s surrounding area.
To begin, your dentist places a rubber sheet, called a dam, around the tooth to keep the area dry and free of saliva. Next, the dentist drills an access hole into your tooth, removing the infected pulp, nerve tissue, and debris. Furthermore, the root canals receive cleansing and scrubbing. Finally, the dentist flushes debris away using water or sodium hypochlorite.
After the dentist thoroughly cleans your tooth, he seals it. Sometimes the dentist waits a week to seal the tooth, but most sealing takes place during the same appointment as the root canal procedure. If it’s best to wait a week, the dentist places a temporary filling in your tooth to keep saliva and food from contaminating the space.
How Do You Know If You Need Root Canal Therapy?
The most common symptom for understanding if you need root canal therapy is tooth pain. A toothache varies as some individuals experience mild pain while others suffer intolerable pain. However, the magnitude of the pain may diminish as the day progresses. Furthermore, you may experience sensitivity, especially with hot food or liquid.
Other warning signs that you need root canal therapy include:
- Swollen and tender gums near the problem area
- Dark tooth color
- Evidence of drainage from infection
- Changes and asymmetry in soft tissues around the tooth
During your exam, your dentist identifies which tooth or teeth show signs of infection. Next, additional testing and evaluation take place for proper diagnosis. Tests include one or more different methods, such as thermal testing, percussion testing, x-ray evaluation and electric pulp testing. Lastly, your dentist also checks the status of dental restorations, gum health, sensitivity and tooth strength.
Dental Care from Tooth Roots to Your Best Smiles
Caring for your dental health is a priority at home and the dentist’s office. At Laughlin Dental in Pasadena, Texas, Dr. Lloyd Laughlin and his cultivated staff perform the dental care your family needs. Our dental services include family, cosmetic, and general dentistry.
Additionally, our dental services include:
- Dental implants
- Root canal therapy and extractions
- Gum treatment
- TMJ treatment and cancer screening
For your family’s best dental health and compassionate, professional dental care, call Laughlin Dental at (281) 864-0996 for a consultation.