Root Canals

Receiving a root canal may not be many people’s idea of fun, but this dental treatment often doesn’t get the credit it deserves. The purpose of this procedure is to reduce pain! If your dentist recommends a root canal, it means that soon you’ll be able to speak, eat, and chew again without worrying about pain.

While the term root canal may sound scary, the point of this treatment isn’t to hurt you. Instead, it’s to relieve pain and restore your mouth to its full function.

At Smart Dental Care, we offer root canal treatments to ensure your mouth is healthy and happy. Have questions about root canals or need to book an appointment? Give us a call today!

What Is a Root Canal?

Every permanent tooth has a small amount of pulp inside, which is primarily made up of blood vessels and connective tissues. Once your permanent teeth are securely in place, they no longer need this pulp.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean this pulp can’t cause problems! If the exterior of a tooth is damaged, bacteria can gain access to the pulp inside, which can lead to an infection. This infected pulp can become very painful.

A root canal is simply the process of removing this infected pulp and securing the damaged tooth so you can live pain-free again.

You may need a root canal because of a tooth injury, a deep cavity, issues from a filling, or even genetics that increase your odds of tooth infection.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

The only way to be certain that you need a root canal is by getting a diagnosis from your dentist. However, if one or more of your teeth is experiencing any of the following signs, a root canal might be able to improve your quality of life:

  • Extreme temperature sensitivity.
  • Pain, particularly when eating or when pressure is placed on a specific tooth.
  • Swollen gums.
  • Tooth discoloration.
  • Toothache that extends from the tooth into the jaw.

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to book an appointment with your dentist right away. Our dentists, Drs. Ashton and Nguyen, are here to help.

What Is the Root Canal Process?

Once a dentist has determined that you need a root canal, the next step is to have the infected pulp removed. After the pulp is gone, we will sterilize the interior of the tooth, fill the empty space, and protect the damaged tooth exterior, often with the help of a crown.

If you’d like to more fully understand the steps of this process, you can give us a call or refer to the guide below:

Step 1: Preparing For The Root Canal

Before the actual root canal, one of our dentists will take X-rays of the impacted tooth to get a better picture of the infection.

In most cases, you’ll receive local anesthetic and numbing medication. You may also receive sedation dentistry. This is something one of our dentists will discuss with you to ensure you are comfortable.

Step 2: Removing The Infected Pulp

Next, a rubber dam is placed around the impacted tooth to keep it dry. Your dentist will then use specialized tools to remove the infected pulp in the tooth and drain any abscesses.

Our dentists always ensure you are feeling good and will ask you throughout the treatment.

Step 3: Filling the Root Canal

Once the infected tooth pump is removed, your dentist will clean the root canal to remove any traces of infection and fill the root canal so the infection doesn’t return.

In some cases, multiple visits are required to completely clean and fill the root canals in the tooth. In these situations, medicine to kill bacteria is left in the root canals. You’ll also receive a temporary filling. You may also need antibiotics to remove the infection.

Step 4: Sealing the Tooth

When the tooth is cleaned and the root canals are filled, your dentist will then seal the tooth to help prevent further infection.

It’s possible that the root-filled tooth will be darker than your other teeth, especially if the infection leads to decay or is because of an injury.

Step 5: Adding a Dental Crown

In many cases, a dental crown is necessary to restore the impacted tooth. A dental crown is a cap that covers the remaining tooth. The crown is usually made of ceramic or porcelain and is matched to the color of your natural teeth.

A dental crown strengthens the tooth to prevent fracturing and also restores the look of your smile.

Step 6: Recovering & Care Instructions

For most patients, it takes around one to two weeks to fully recover from a root canal. However, this will depend on many factors, such as the severity of the infection.

It’s vital to follow aftercare instructions from your dentist so that you don’t further strain or damage the tooth as it heals.

When the process is finished, you can expect almost immediate relief from the pain an infected tooth can cause!

Why Root Canal Treatments Are Beneficial

If you have an infected tooth pulp, root canals are the only way to save the tooth and remove the infection without extracting the entire tooth. There are many benefits to receiving this treatment when you need it. These include:

  • Saves your natural tooth: A root canal can save your tooth. While extractions do have their place, there are good reasons to try to save the tooth. Mainly, you’ll be able to keep the look of your natural smile and prevent repeated dental treatments.
  • Removes and alleviates pain: While in days of old root canals might have been unpleasant, dental advancements have made root canals practically painless. You’ll likely feel more comfortable during recovery than if you had the tooth removed.
  • Cost-effective treatment: For many patients, root canals are the most affordable and efficient option to save an infected tooth. While dentures, dental bridges, and dental implants are alternatives, they can be more expensive and more difficult to maintain. If you have insurance, root canals are often covered.

For these reasons and more, it’s a good idea to see if a root canal is the right treatment option for you when you have severe tooth pain. The team at Smart Dental Care is ready to get you back to a pain-free smile!

Can I Prevent Needing a Root Canal?

While root canals are a crucial treatment for saving a decayed or damaged tooth, it makes sense you’d want to avoid them. It’s a good idea to do what you can to keep your teeth from reaching this point.

While it’s not always possible to deter root canals, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk and keep your teeth healthy.

Here are a few steps we suggest:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily: Brushing your teeth is a key part of maintaining a healthy smile. Make sure to brush once in the morning and once in the evening using firm but gentle pressure. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and reach every surface.
  • Floss at least once per day: Along with brushing, be sure to floss at least once per day. Flossing helps remove food pieces and bacteria from between your teeth. You can use whatever flossing method works best for you, as flossing is always better than no flossing.
  • Wera mouth guards: If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw while sleeping, it can wear down your teeth. A night mouthguard can prevent this issue. If you play sports, it’s also important to wear the correct protective equipment to deter dental injury and trauma.
  • Drink enough water: Staying hydrated is good for your overall health, including your oral health. Water helps you produce saliva that protects your teeth and also rinses out your mouth.
  • Avoid or limit certain foods: Acidic food and drinks can weaken tooth enamel. While you don’t need to remove these foods entirely, try to limit things like carbonated drinks and citrus juice. You should also be careful when chewing hard or sticky foods.
  • Get regular dental cleanings: Routine dental cleanings are also key to preventing decay and infection. Some people need more frequent teeth cleanings to prevent cavities, but generally, you should see a dentist at least every six months.

These tips can keep your teeth healthy and prevent cavities and infections. However, sometimes an injury can cause decay. Some people are also more likely to get tooth infections than others.

So, if you do end up needing a root canal, contact Smart Dental Care.

Get to the Root of the Problem with a Root Canal from Smart Dental Care!

Tooth pain is upsetting to deal with, and it’s important to get relief. At Smart Dental Care, we can diagnose and treat your tooth pain so you can go on living your life. When your tooth pain is caused by infected pulp, a root canal will alleviate your symptoms and restore your mouth.

While we know that a root canal might not be your favorite activity, the point is to make you feel better, not to cause further pain. During the treatment, we will work to ensure you are as comfortable as possible while receiving crucial dental care.

Contact us today if you’re experiencing tooth pain! Whether or not a root canal is the solution that’s right for you, we are committed to eliminating dental pain in any way we can.