A few years ago, I realized that I was thinking about dental care all wrong. Instead of listening carefully to my dentist and making the necessary changes, I assumed that he was ultimately responsible for making sure that my teeth stayed healthy. Unfortunately, I developed a few serious cavities because I failed to properly brush and floss my teeth, and I knew that it was my fault. I decided to start taking notes at my dental checkups and carefully abiding by the dentist's orders. The difference was almost miraculous. This blog is all about working with your dentist to improve your result.
A root canal is a dental procedure that is typically performed by a dentist known as an endodontist. It is usually performed when the center part of the tooth, known as the pulp, becomes, inflamed or infected. Pulp infections can occur as a result of cavities, tooth injuries, multiple dental procedures on the tooth, and cracks in the tooth. The pulp of your tooth contains blood vessels, nerves, and nutrients that are supplied to the tooth to keep it healthy. Here are some signs that may indicate the need for root canal treatment and an explanation of how root canals are performed.
Signs That You May Need Endodontic Treatment
If you experience any of the following signs and symptoms of an infected pulp, visit your dentist who can confirm your diagnosis with x-rays and an oral examination. The most common sign of an infected pulp is severe pain, especially when chewing. You may also notice tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking hot and cold items, and the gum tissue surrounding the affected tooth may look discolorated and swollen. In addition, your tooth may be chipped, broken, or decayed. Because these signs and symptoms can mimic the signs and symptoms of other dental conditions, your dentist will need to be certain that you have an infected pulp before they recommend a root canal.
Root Canal Procedure
Before your procedure begins, you will be given a local anesthetic injection to numb the area. After the anesthetic has taken effect, the endodontist will expose the pulp by making an opening in the tooth. They will then remove the pulp and clean out canals, also called pathways, in your tooth. Following the removal of the pulp, your dentist may apply a local antibiotic to the affected area to treat the infection and prevent the tooth from becoming re-infected.
After the tooth canals have been effectively cleaned and treated with the local antibiotic, the tooth will be sealed with a special substance known as gutta-percha. Finally, the opening that the dentist made at the beginning of the procedure will be covered with a temporary filling to protect the canals. When you go back to the dental office for your follow-up visit, a permanent filling or dental crown will be placed over your tooth.
If you develop signs and symptoms of an infected pulp, see your dentist right away. When pulp infections are identified and treated as soon as possible with a root canal, your oral health will be established quicker and you may be less likely to lose your tooth. For more information on root canals, contact a professional near you.