Most people have heard about root canal treatments, but many people may have the wrong idea. Instead of being a scary treatment, this is a relatively comfortable procedure that can save a severely infected tooth. Without a root canal, many people end up losing their affected tooth. So Smiles of La Mesa remains committed to delivering this vital treatment to patients.
Why Would I Need a Root Canal?
Most of the time, regular visits to the dentist can catch tooth decay before it becomes too severe. But for many people, tooth decay really sneaks up on them. When it progresses to a certain point (or you receive a tooth injury), you may become vulnerable to infection.
When a tooth becomes attacked by bacteria, it can affect the hard tissue of the teeth and eat it away. Then the decay can spread to the soft inside of a tooth.
Normally, a simple restorative filling should be enough to resolve this issue if it is in its early stages. But when the infection has gone beyond what traditional fillings can address, a root canal should be appropriate.
What Does a Root Canal Do?
Root canal procedures are dental treatments that save decayed teeth before an infection becomes too severe. One of the main goals is to properly ensure that the tooth is saved. Doing so means that the tooth does not have to be pulled out. The main steps of the procedure involve cleaning out the cavity of the nerve and the pulp. We then seal the now clean tooth is cleaned out and sealed.
Unlike the common belief, a root canal procedure is not painful. In fact, most of our La Mesa patients report that it is about the same as a routine filling treatment. We carefully use targeted amounts of local anesthesia to ensure your remain comfortable throughout the whole procedure. If you have any concerns, please let us know and we will work to find a solution.
Root Canal Process
A root canal treatment procedure involves several steps, each designed to ensure the survival of your tooth. First, we must remove the infected pulp tissue with the use of a series of files. Next, the canal is shaped and cleaned by sequential filing. Once fully cleaned, we can then fill the canal with a biomaterial called gutta-percha.
Because the tooth’s nerve is not vital for teeth function, the procedure is recommended for anyone who is in danger of infection. The nerve is for sensory reasons only, and will not affect the regular functioning of the tooth. This procedure will help you save your teeth and with proper care, you can maintain that tooth in your mouth.
However, waiting too long for a root canal might mean the only option left is a tooth extraction.
Is a Root Canal Right for Me?
If you are experiencing tooth pain, then you may very well need a root canal. Signs that your tooth is becoming infected include:
A severe and throbbing toothache that doesn’t seem to go away. It might also feel painful in your jaw, neck, and ear.
- Unusual sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Increased sensitivity or pain from chewing or biting food
- Low-grade to higher fever
- Noticeable swelling in your cheek or face
- And more
As soon as you notice any symptoms, we recommend calling Smiles of La Mesa to get a treatment appointment. If you notice that the pain suddenly goes away, still call us. This may only mean that the nerve has fully died. So the infection remains, but you simply can no longer feel it.
After Your Root Canal
Recovering from a root canal is quite straightforward and far less painful than popular culture seems to think. In reality, the entire procedure is relatively comfortable from start to finish. Immediately after your root canal, you may have some lingering numbness. This is entirely normal and will wear off quickly.
Afterward, you may experience some swelling and discomfort. However, these both can be taken care of with medication. Also, any discomfort should pass within a matter of only a couple of days.
After that, you should be able to get right back to your daily life. Your tooth will still be alive and your smile all in one piece. If you have any questions or concerns at any point, do not hesitate to call Smiles of La Mesa. We will gladly see you for a follow-up appointment and address any concerns you may have.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
Call us or make an appointment online today! Have your teeth cleaned by a trusted La Mesa dentist, Dr. Prasad Gonavarum. When you come in for a root canal procedure, you are investing in the continued health of your teeth. Don’t wait to give your teeth the care they need! Call us today to learn more and get started on saving your affected tooth and keeping your smile whole!
Root canal treatment is the removal of a bacterial infection that has entered the pulp of your tooth. It is a procedure performed by your dentist to repair and rescue a severely damaged and infected tooth.
The acid produced when the bacteria from plaque and sugar from the food debris combine, can wear down the tooth enamel thus resulting to cavities or dental decay. These cavities can cause dental infection and if left untreated, may progress to other structures of the tooth, like the tooth pulp. The pulp of the tooth contains nerve and blood vessels. Any damage to these structures may lead to bacterial infection of the pulp tissues which can lead to tooth abscess. Tooth abscess is characterized by throbbing pain and swelling of the gums surrounding the infected tooth and sometimes, fever may be also present. Other reasons as to why the pulp of your tooth may be damaged and infected are: chipped or fractured tooth, repeated dental procedure and a blow to the face.
Infection to the pulp of the tooth is treated with antibiotics and pain killers are used to alleviate the discomfort experienced. Root canal treatment is advised by your dentist to remove the infected pulp tissues. Other signs that warrants a root canal treatment are: severe dental pain upon chewing or application of pressure, prolonged sensitivity to temperatures, darkening of the tooth and a recurring presence of a gum pimple.
Prior to root canal procedure, your dentist will have to conduct an oral examination to check for signs indicative that you need the treatment; and an x-ray is performed to assess the extent of damage or infection in the pulp of the tooth.
Usually the procedure requires one or more dental visits. On your first visit, the dentist will numb the area surrounding the tooth with a local anesthetic. A rubber dam is then placed around the tooth to be treated to keep the area clean and dry. Once the numbness is felt by the patient, the dentist will create an opening on the top part of the tooth and a root canal file is used to clean out infected pulp tissues and shape the canal. Once the bacteria are removed, your dentist will decide whether to proceed with the filling procedure or have it postponed on the next dental visit. The decision usually depends on the extent of the infection the pulp of your teeth. He/she may wait for the next dental visit to permanently seal the canal; in the mean time, he/she may place a medication in the canal and temporary seal the hole in the surface of the tooth. This is done to keep out unwanted particles to enter the canal. In some instances, the dentist may choose to permanently seal the canal and the exterior hole the same day it was cleaned.
On your second dental visit, the temporary seal is removed. A rubber compound and a sealer paste is used to fill the entire root canal and a dental filling is used to seal the hole created in the surface of the tooth. To complete the restoration procedure, a dental crown is placed over the treated tooth to protect it. It is important that you follow your dentist post-op instructions to ensure the prompt and correct healing of the root canal treated tooth.