A root canal procedure is performed when the pulp (nerve) of a tooth becomes infected, inflamed, or dies. Causes of these conditions include deep decay, a fracture in the tooth, or trauma.The procedure for a root canal is to make a small access opening in the tooth (after dental anesthesia is obtained), and using small, thin, sterile instruments called endodontic files, the dentist will clean and shape the small, thin canal(s) of the tooth. After the canal(s) is/are cleaned and shaped, a bio-compatible material, called gutta percha, is placed within the canal(s) with a special adhesive cement to make sure that no other bacteria or debris enter the canal(s). After completion of the root canal procedure, your dentist will determine if a post and crown will be required to restore the tooth.
There is often an element of fear attached to the words “Root Canal,” but there is no real reason for it! The reality is that a Root Canal is generally no more uncomfortable than getting a cavity filled. If you’re told you may need a Root Canal or suspect you need one, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect.
What is a Root Canal Treatment?
A Root Canal treatment is a procedure carried out by a specialized dentist, also known as an Endodontist, that targets nerve problems within the tooth. Sometimes the soft pulp, or nerve, tissue becomes infected or inflamed. Not only does this cause horrible pain, but it can also contribute to tooth decay. In this case, a root canal treatment is necessary to save a tooth or prevent further problems. The term “root canal” simply means cleaning out the tooth canals within the root of the tooth. The dentist performs a procedure to rid the tooth of the infection and prevent further problems in the future. As previously mentioned, it is about as uncomfortable as getting a cavity filled and any pain experienced after treatment is very limited and often controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Root Canal Problem Causes
Root Canal issues can be caused by a few things. One culprit to the infection and inflammation is often tooth decay or fracture. Your teeth are covered with enamel to protect them, and any compromise to this protective layer means a great chance of bacteria getting in. For example, when you have cavities that have not been filled, it allows bacteria into the tooth, often having a negative effect on the pulp tissue. Tooth trauma is another reason why a root canal may be necessary. If there is pulp tissue damage, treatment may need to be done as soon as possible to save the tooth and prevent further issues like an infection.
Signs and Symptoms of Root Canal Problems
The symptoms of Root Canal issues are generally the same of any other infection. Constant pain is the most obvious sign of something being wrong. The area can be slightly swollen and sensitive. You may also have sharp pain when chewing food. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should visit a dentist as soon as possible. Our Manhattan-based dentists can give advice as to what to do and get you into our Midtown dental offices to assess the pain as quickly as possible.
What Happens During Root Canal Treatment?
Root Canals are one of the most popular dental treatments, and it’s a pretty straightforward process. An initial assessment will be done to first determine that a root canal is indeed what is needed. This is usually a simple examination and x-ray. A dental specialist will start the Root Canal treatment with numbing the tooth and surrounding area with general anesthesia.
Once the area is completely numb, the dentist will create an opening on top of the tooth to make a route down to the pulp chamber. Special equipment is used to clean out the infection and other unhealthy pulp from the chamber. The special tools can get down to the narrowest of chambers, and sometimes even a microscope is used, to make sure all of the infection is clear from the tooth and that the chamber is disinfected. Once the canal is cleared and reshaped, it is ready to be filled with a bio-compatible filing called gutta-percha along with a special adhesive cement. This helps prevent future infection. If the tooth needs a crown (or cap), there may be a temporary filling put in until this is placed. Sometimes a post is placed into the root next to the gutta-percha to give extra support to a crown.
Most Root Canal treatments can be done in one visit that sees you in and out within a fairly short amount of time at our Manhattan dentist office. More severe cases may require a multi-visit approach.
What to Expect After a Root Canal Treatment
Root Canals have a very high success rate, and you shouldn’t have any problems after receiving treatment. Your tooth and the surrounding area may be sensitive and ache a bit at times. This is often sorted with over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen. Occasionally prescription pain relievers may be given if the dentist feels it is needed. Also during this time, avoid chewing on hard foods on the affected side. These can cause breakage again. Remember the aches and sensitivity are only temporary and will go away in a relatively short amount of time if you follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions.
A treated tooth can last a lifetime with no further problems with proper care. You can do this by practicing good dental hygiene by brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing.
What Happens If I Choose Not to Receive Root Canal Treatment?
Tooth problems, like infection or inflammation, should not be ignored. Sometimes the pain can go away, but the infection can get worse and spread. This can lead to dental abscess or worse. Not the mention the pain can become extraordinarily painful. It is best to get treatment as soon as possible to relieve the pain and prevent future problems.
A Root Canal treatment by our dentists in Midtown will relieve your pain. Although the process can seem scary, it is a very straightforward and common procedure that you will be glad you got done instead of letting the pain and infection get worse. Our fabulous Midtown dentists at 286 Madison Dental will do everything they can to make you feel at ease every step of the way. If you are experiencing tooth pain, contact our office, conveniently located in Midtown, Manhattan, near Murray Hill.
So don’t ignore the tooth pain and hope it will go away on its own! Our specialists will assess your needs and determine the right approach to get you feeling like you again in no time
At 286MadisonDental we have an Endodontist on staff that specializes in the treatment of root canals.