Preserving your natural teeth is important for keeping your smile looking and feeling healthy.
A root canal is an option for teeth that are badly damaged or infected but does not require extraction.
Our dentists at Singing River Dentistry are professionally trained in performing root canals, even baby teeth root canal procedures, to restore the health and comfort to your smile.
What is a Root Canal?
In the center of your tooth, there is a soft core called the dental pulp. This pulp runs through your tooth from the very top of your tooth to the root in the jawbone. When your tooth is cracked, bacteria can easily find its way inside the tooth and into the dental pulp.
When bacteria get inside, it can access the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues enclosed within the dental pulp. Bacteria, and other decaying material, can cause a serious infection with direct access to the nerves. If it continues, the dental pulp can die which would lead to bone loss and losing the tooth.
A root canal is a treatment option that can clean out the dental pulp, discard of the bacteria, and seal the tooth to prevent more decaying material from entering. It is a preventative measure, part of restorative dentistry, to save as much of the tooth as possible. If left unattended, it may lead to a tooth extraction.
What are the Symptoms that You Might Need a Root Canal?
Many people might only understand they need a root canal after their dentist informs them.
However, there are a few signs to be aware of that might necessitate you needing one.
If you have swelling around your face, neck, or in your gums, you notice a hole in your tooth, have severe pain from a single tooth or an area within your mouth, you should schedule an appointment immediately.
Symptoms of an infection may include an abscess that has developed. Signs of this occur when bacteria begin to spill out of the tooth root. A sac forms in an attempt to contain the bacteria. The longer you go without treatment, the larger it becomes. It can even rupture, which can let bacteria enter your bloodstream.
At the first sign of an infection, it is crucial that you schedule an appointment for an exam immediately. With an exam, we can diagnose an infection and provide you with the treatment you need right away. During your exam, we look inside your mouth, checking your teeth for damage and your gums for signs of an infection.
We also take x-rays. With these images, we can see any damage to your tooth roots, bone loss, and abscesses. If we determine the presence of an infection, we can then create a customized treatment plan to restore the health of your mouth.
What Is a Root Canal Procedure?
Our dentists will first use a dental x-ray to see how deep the damage of the tooth goes.
Once a treatment plan is set, we will apply a local anesthetic to the procedure area so you will feel pressure, but no pain.
Our dentists will begin to remove the decay from the tooth, and then create an opening through the crown of the tooth. Through the opening, the root canals are thoroughly cleaned.
The root canal should be dry and completely clean before placing a crown to seal the tooth. Our dentists use a filling to seal the root canal and ensure that no saliva enters into the opening of the tooth. A crown is then placed, shaped, and polished into place to seal the tooth and to allow for a natural-looking finish of the tooth.
How Many Visits Does a Root Canal Take?
Most root canals take between one to three appointments on average.
The number of appointments required depend largely on the amount of damage to your tooth.
The first appointment of the procedure requires the infection of the pulp to be fully removed from the tooth. This process takes approximately 90 minutes but may be shorter or longer depending on the severity of the infection.
The second, and possibly third, appointment is when the root canal is checked, filled, and crowned to prevent infection.
How to Care for your Teeth Following a Root Canal
Following a root canal and the healing time required, the crown used to cover your tooth should be cared for in the same way as your natural teeth.
However, you should expect your tooth to be a bit sensitive for a few days after the root canal procedure, especially if there was infection or pain of the tooth before we performed the root canal. Don't worry about this discomfort since we'll give you an over the counter prescription to manage it.
Make sure that you strictly follow the instructions given by our dentists if you don't want to experience complications after the root canal.
Also, your tooth can feel somehow different from the rest of your teeth for a while after the root canal treatment. This is normal, and that feeling will go away with time.
In the event that you experience severe pressure or pain in the tooth, or pain that persists for several days, visit our offices immediately for a checkup.
It's important to note that you need to observe proper oral hygiene once we perform a root canal. Daily and routine brushing, flossing, and rinsing are needed to maintain the health of the treated tooth and to help provide for your overall oral health.
In addition to this, you need to schedule regular visits with our dentists to make sure that the treatment plan is going on well as planned. Also, don’t forget to visit our offices twice a year for dental exams and cleaning!
Schedule a Root Canal with Your Trusted Dental Team in Madison, AL
If you are in or around the Madison, AL area and concerned for your oral health because of a painful tooth, call our professionals at Singing River Dentistry today, at 256 - 562 - 4001. If your teeth are constantly in pain or inflamed, a root canal restoration may be required to remove an infection from the root of your tooth.Our dentists are always ready to help you maintain and improve your oral hygiene and preserve your natural smile.