Root canal therapy is used to restore and preserve your tooth after it has become infected. Tooth infections are usually caused by tooth decay, but can also be caused by impact injuries and cracked teeth.
When the enamel and dentin of the tooth wear away, the interior root and pulp are exposed to oral bacteria. The tissue then becomes infected, and will eventually die without treatment, resulting in tooth loss. A root canal is used to open up the tooth, remove the infected material, and cover it up with a crown, to preserve the natural structure and eliminate pain and discomfort.
The process of having a root canal is actually quite similar to having a filling placed. First, Dr. Boals will numb and clean the area. Then, a small opening is made in the affected tooth, using a dental drill.
After this, Dr. Boals will begin removing infected tooth pulp and material. Once the infected material has been removed, the inside of the tooth is disinfected and rinsed. Dr. Boals will then use a rubber-like substance called gutta-percha to fill the inside of the tooth and preserve its structure. Finally, your tooth will be covered with a temporary filling or crown until a custom crown is manufactured to fit perfectly in your mouth.
If your tooth is infected, you will need a root canal to restore your tooth and prevent it from dying. There are a few common signs you can look for to determine if you may need root canal therapy.
The most obvious sign of an infected tooth is a prolonged, painful toothache. As the nerves in your tooth decay, they will cause you a lot of pain and discomfort. If you have a toothache that won’t go away or gets worse after a day or two, this is an indication that something could be wrong.
Your tooth may also start to feel more sensitive to heat and cold, and to the pressure of normal biting and chewing. If you’re having trouble eating your favorite foods due to sensitivity, this may also indicate the presence of an infected tooth.
Inflammation and discoloration of the gums around the affected tooth is also a sign that your tooth may be infected. In some cases, the tooth itself may also start to become discolored and appear yellow, light brown, or gray-black.
In serious cases of tooth infections, you may even notice swelling of your lymph nodes, swelling in your face and cheek, or a fever. If you notice these issues, you need to get help immediately from Kissing Camels Family Dentistry. The infection could be worsening and could spread to the rest of your body.
While root canals are minimally-invasive, you may experience some pain and discomfort for a few days after your procedure. Some minor bruising and swelling are normal, too. You may start noticing some discomfort within a few hours after your treatment, as your numbing wears off. This is normal and can be treated with over-the-counter medication like aspirin or naproxen (Aleve).
You will want to be careful and gentle when brushing around your treated tooth for a few days. Consider eating mostly soft foods with that side of your mouth to avoid sensitivity. You will want to avoid chewing extremely hard foods like nuts with your newly-treated tooth for a few days.
Usually, you will recover completely within 3-4 days, and be able to resume your normal diet. If you continue to have pain up to a week after your treatment, schedule a follow-up with Dr. Boals. This could indicate a complication such as a failure to completely eliminate your tooth infection.