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A root canal is a dental procedure performed to correct a severely decayed, problematic tooth. This procedure involves the removal or extraction of the tooth’s pulp, or soft tissues. The pulp of a tooth is made up of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that help the tooth form and grow and perform its intended task. Root canal treatment comprises the removal of the infected pulp, cleaning and disinfection of the inside areas of the tooth, and then the replacement of the tooth pulp with a filling. The filling acts as a seal that protects the tooth from reinfection.
This procedure is often required as a result of gum disease, or periodontal disease, as well as trauma, and tooth decay. A root canal may also be requires when bacteria enters the pulp of a tooth and causes an infection. This treatment relieves pain caused by an infected tooth or an abscessed tooth and can help improve a patient’s oral health and general wellbeing. Contact our Gainesville dentists with Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry to schedule root canal treatment and to learn more about our available general dentistry services.
Our dentists perform root canals on-site, within our dental office. Before starting your root canal, a member of our team will take dental X-rays of the affected tooth and the teeth surrounding the problematic tooth. The digital X-ray helps our dentists determine the extent of the damage and ensures that root canal therapy is the ideal treatment option for you. To start the procedure, local anesthesia is given in order to numb the infected tooth and the surrounding gums. Nitrous oxide sedation may also be available to ensure you are sufficiently numbed and feel comfortable throughout the procedure.
Before beginning root canal therapy, our dentist will place a small rubber dam over the area. This isolates the tooth, keeping it dry for treatment. Next, our dentist will make a small opening in the crown of the tooth in order to gain access to the tooth’s pulp. Tiny dental instruments are then used to remove nerves, blood vessels, and tissus from inside of the tooth and, once the infected pulp is extracted, the pulp chamber and canals of the root are disinfected and shaped. Once empty, the canals are filled with a flexible, rubber-like dental material and a temporary dental filling is then placed in the tooth to seal it and prevent bacteria from entering the hole.
In most situations, patients require a root canal and crown treatment. Dental crowns are used in root canal therapy to protect the treated tooth and to restore the patient’s bite. Crowns are customized to each patient and made in our laboratory. When your custom crown is ready for placement, typically 2–3 weeks after the initial appointment, then we will remove the temporary filling and place the permanent crown. In some cases, the crown may be placed during the same appointment as the root canal.
The amount of time required to complete a root canal procedure can vary from patient-to-patient, depending on the extent of the damage and infection in the tooth and whether or or more teeth requires root canal treatment, among other factors unique to each patient. In some cases, root canal therapy may require a single or multiple appointments to complete. On average, root canal treatment can take up to an hour to complete. If a patient undergoes treatment on a larger tooth containing multiple roots, it may take longer to complete. For more information, please contact our Gainesville dental office.
Root canal treatment may be necessary when the tissue within the tooth becomes infected or necrotic. This can be caused by extensive decay, trauma to the tooth, deep fillings, tooth fractures, or periodontal disease. Inside a healthy tooth is soft tissue called pulp. If the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, it requires endodontic treatment to maintain the tooth. Without this procedure, the patient will experience further tooth pain and an abscess. An abscess effects the jaw bones and can become a dental emergency.
In some cases, patients may not be aware that they have one infected tooth or multiple infected teeth. However, oftentimes, patients notice certain symptoms, including tooth pain that will not subside, intense sensitivity to heat and cold, swollen and inflamed gums, a lesion on the gums, tooth discoloration, pain when pressure is applied, and loose, chipped, or cracked tooth.
The pulp is made of nerves and blood vessels. When it becomes inflamed, these nerves become irritated which cause an increase in pressure and a throbbing pain. If the root canal pain does not go away in a timely manner, the pulp may be irreversibly damaged.
Once an abscess forms, bacteria located there must find a way to survive. While the bacteria does not have constant access to oxygen, it is capable of living off of a natural chemical known as sulfur, which produces a bitter, foul taste in the mouth.
The bacteria that forms in an abscess can transfer to the surrounding gums or bone which causes them to swell. Sometimes pus develops in the affected tooth, but it does not drain from the site. As a result, the jaw, face, and gums can become visibly swollen.
An infected tooth can cracks in the tooth’s enamel or tubes from the layer below the enamel. The material that lays beneath the enamel is sensitive to temperature changes; therefore, when cold or hot food and beverages come into contact with the tooth, you feel pain.
When a tooth becomes a different color, it is indicative that the pulp has degenerated due to an infection within it. This can cause the tooth to appear darker than the surrounding, natural teeth. This is often seen when teeth are traumatized and may happen long after the initial trauma.
A tooth that is severely infected for a prolonged period of time can feel looser than normal or than the surrounding teeth. This occurs when the pus from the infected tooth pulp softens the jawbone which supports the teeth. If not treated promptly, this can result in tooth loss.
If you’ve bitten into something hard or experienced physical trauma to your mouth, and the result if a cracked or chipped tooth, then you may develop tooth decay and infection. Bacteria can venture all the way into the tooth pulp and, thereafter, require a root canal.
Teeth that require root canal therapy are those which are subject to oral bacteria that has invaded the pulp within the teeth. This usually occurs when a cavity is left untreated for an extended period of time. Other root canal causes can include a tooth that becomes chipped, cracked, or otherwise damaged due to trauma of some variety, whether it’s due to playing a contact sport or from biting into a hard substance or food item. When performed in a timely manner by trusted dentists in Gainesville, FL, such as those with Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry, root canal therapy will usually serve to save the tooth in question and eliminate the pain from the infection. In cases where the infected tooth cannot be saves, then the next best option is often a tooth implant.
Most patients find that root canal treatment is no more uncomfortable than receiving a tooth filling. The process consists of drilling an access hole through the infected tooth to remove the tissue and clean and shape the root canal system removing the infected pulp. Once the tooth is asymptomatic, the canals will then be filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. After root canal treatment, the tooth must be properly restored to ensure it’s completely sealed. In many instances, even after receiving a dental filling, a full-coverage crown is necessary to prevent the tooth from fracturing. Other teeth may only require a filling.
Following their root canal therapy, our patients report no pain during the procedure, followed by some minor degree of pain afterward, which can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. With regard to root canal recovery time, recovery following your procedure generally takes less than a week. You may experience mild discomfort or pain for a few days after the procedure, but this can be alleviated with medication and proper rest.
If you experience severe pain or persistent throbbing pain after your root canal that, contact your healthcare provider right away. Following your root canal procedure and before your permanent crown is placed, you should avoid biting or chewing with the treated tooth or teeth. Instead, try to chew on the other side of your mouth until your permanent dental restoration is in place and set. Contact our office for more information about the root canal recovery process and to schedule an appointment for root canal therapy.