Root canals are among the most common procedures performed by dentists. A root canal is a procedure used to save natural teeth when extensive decay and damage are present. Despite the sense of fear and uncertainty that often accompanies the phrase “root canal,” it is a safe and trusted procedure that has been utilized for decades upon decades.
The Root Canal Process
Root canals are typically the preferred method of treatment for a tooth that has become infected at the pulp in order to save the tooth. Endodontic treatment is designed to make sure that your teeth maintain as much of their natural function as possible, and the root canal system makes that possible.
Root canal therapy is an involved process and includes four steps from beginning to end. These steps are designed to adequately clean and prepare the tooth for the root canal procedure and subsequently prepare the tooth for a cap or crown.
Cleaning and Preparation
In order to adequately prepare an infected tooth for restoration, the tooth must be drilled into and thoroughly cleaned. Cleaning the tooth involves diving deeply into the body and root of the tooth to remove the dental pulp that has become inflamed or infected. Once all of the canals in the tooth have been cleaned out, the root canal procedure can begin.
Root Canal Procedure
The root canal procedure follows cleaning and involves removing any remaining or additional areas of decay or disease. Dentists, once the teeth are adequately cleaned out, begin filling the tooth. Root canal fillings are different from standard decay fillings because they are designed to stabilize the tooth and provide material from which to build up the tooth and make space for a crown.
The core build-up process is completed to replace the portions of teeth that were removed to disinfect the tooth and remove pulp. The treated tooth is given filling materials to fortify the tooth while waiting for a crown. This may be temporary filling or may be used long-term to bear the weight and structure of a crown.
At the conclusion of root canal therapy, a crown will be used to “cap” the tooth being treated. The crown will protect treated teeth from further decay and damage. Typically, a temporary crown will be placed until a more thorough reconstruction can be completed and placed on the tooth in question.
Are Root Canals Painful?
When completed correctly, root canals should not prove particularly painful. Root canals begin with a local anesthetic, which should effectively numb the area and relieve any sensations of pain or discomfort. The process itself should not be painful, but should sensations of pain arise, you can contact your dentist for more information about safe pain management.
Prior to the start of an endodontic procedure, your dentist will apply a local anesthetic to the area. If, during treatment, you experience pain or discomfort, you can signal your dentist or endodontist and request additional interventions. Following the procedure, you may be advised to take an over-the-counter pain relief medication to mitigate any lingering symptoms of discomfort.
Follow Up Care
Following your root canal therapy, you may experience some pain and swelling in the area, whether that pain comes from the tooth itself or from the surrounding soft tissue. After your appointment, you will visit your general dentist for further evaluation and ensure that the root canal therapy was completed successfully. A general dentist can also help identify any potential sources of pain or discomfort following your procedure.
Root Canals Vs Extraction
When teeth have reached a state of decay or infection wherein a simple filling is no longer enough to fix the issue, patients are typically faced with a choice: root canal therapy or removal and subsequent dental implant or bridge. Determining which of these options is right for you involves taking a closer look at the treatments and how they might affect you long-term.
Saving the Natural Tooth
Root canal therapy is the preferred treatment option when it is possible to save the natural tooth. Natural teeth are more durable and biologically compatible than any other intervention, no matter how advanced the technology may be. Preserving the natural tooth is ideal for most dentists and dental health professionals because natural teeth are not susceptible to the same issues that can accompany false teeth.
Retaining natural teeth ensures that you do not experience bone loss that accompanies tooth extraction. It also makes it far easier to match the natural appearance of teeth. Bridges and implants may be more difficult to match and may always appear just a little bit different from your natural teeth. This difference can cause some discomfort in patients.
When Extractions Are Necessary
While root canal therapy is the preferred treatment option among dentists and endodontists, there are some instances in which a full extraction is necessary. When teeth are absolutely taken over by decay and that decay has extended deeply into the gums, extraction may be essential. If you are concerned about the potential drawbacks of root canal therapy, you may also want to consider extraction altogether.
Extraction may also be necessary if multiple teeth in the same area are damaged. When this occurs, the gum tissue is often extremely swollen and highly inflamed, leading to complications with completing root canal treatments successfully. Your dental team can evaluate your tooth or teeth and determine which course of action is likely to best suit your needs.
Finding the Best Root Canal Treatment
Finding the best root canal treatment in Pineville, NC means finding the best dental team to suit your preferences and needs. At Radiant Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we make our patient care and comfort a high priority.
If you suspect you are displaying symptoms of extensive decay, such as lingering sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, redness and pimples along the gums, and persistent pain deep within the tooth, schedule an appointment with our team today!