Root canal treatment is used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.
Sometimes no symptoms are present; however, signs you mayneed a root canal include:
- Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
- A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
Root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful. Actually, most people report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed.
What happen during a root canal treatment?
After reviewing a Digital X-ray of your tooth, your endodontist will thoroughly examine your teeth, gums and supporting bone structure, recommend a treatment plan, discuss it with you, and answer your questions. If a root canal is needed:
1) A local anesthetic is applied to the affected tooth and surrounding area
2) A small, protective sheet called a "dental dam" is used to isolate the tooth to keep it clean and free of saliva during your procedure
3) An opening is made in the top of the tooth and your endodontist will remove the soft pulp and nerve and then shape the interior for filling
4) The root canal is cleaned, medicated, and filled with a rubber-like biocompatible material (gutta percha)
5) A temporary filling is placed pending your return to your general dentist
Your root canal dentist will then place a permanent restoration, such as a crown, to protect the tooth
For the first few days after the completion of root canal treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). Most patients can return to their normal activities the next day.
Until the root canal procedure is completely finished -- that is to say, the permanent filling is in place and/or the crown, it's wise to minimize chewing on the tooth to prevent it from breaking before the tooth can be fully restored.
Brush and floss as you regularly would and see your dentist at normally scheduled intervals.
Root canal treatment is highly successful; the procedure has more than a 95% success rate. Many teeth fixed with a root canal can last alifetime.
Are you suffering from an infected, fractured or abscessed tooth or have general tooth pain, then call us to schedule a consultation with our root canal dentist.
Call us for a consultation. Our Dentist office in Arlington, MA serves the following communities Belmont, Cambridge, Lexington, Medford, Somerville, Watertown, and Winchester.