What is Endodontic / Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is a valuable treatment that can save a severely infected tooth. While many patients hear the word “root canal” and panic, this treatment has become much easier and comfortable with advances in technology. At Triad Cosmetic Dentistry, we use modern, comfortable root canals to treat inflamed nerve tissue within a decaying tooth, relieving your pain, and stopping the infection from spreading further.
After carefully removing the nerve tissue, we fill the interior of the tooth to keep the structure intact. Special patient comfort measures, such as anti-anxiety medications and local anesthesia, make root canals just like another dental visit. You can be sure that our gentle and compassionate staff will make your experience pleasant and rewarding.
How Long Does Root Canal Therapy Take?
Most root canal procedures take around 90 minutes to complete, but they can take much longer. Some teeth may require more than one appointment to clear out all the infection. This can be necessary if you have a complicated root structure or a severe infection.
If your procedure is done in two appointments, our first priority is to relieve your pain. We’ll ensure the tooth is properly protected before you leave and until your next appointment. At your second appointment, we’ll thoroughly clean and disinfect the tooth, then place a more permanent protective measure.
Your teeth contain several layers:
- The outer protective layer
- A secondary layer of sensitive dentin
- An inner pulp that contains components commonly referred to as the “nerve” of the tooth
Each pulp chamber branches off, forming canals that lead toward the tooth root tip. These infamous root canals provide a means for the tooth to absorb what it needs from the blood and get rid of toxins or unnecessary material via the bloodstream.
A deep cavity, traumatic injury, or tooth fracture can make the canal susceptible to a bacterial infection, which can kill the pulp, stimulate increased blood flow, and create pressure within the tooth. This can cause severe tooth pain and may initiate bone degeneration, tooth loss, and even more acute pain. If you see your dentist in the earlier stages of this condition, the tooth may be saved with root canal therapy. Otherwise, it should be extracted and replaced with a prosthetic.
Symptoms of a Root Canal Infection
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may have a severe tooth infection:
- Severe tooth pain
- Your toothaches extend to the jaw, neck, or ears
- Sensitivity when biting or chewing
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperature food and drink
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Swelling in your face
These are signs of a serious dental infection that needs immediate professional treatment. Dr. MacDonald can help you through this infection by utilizing root canal therapy.
How Can You Tell if a Tooth is Dead?
A dead tooth is often noticeable because it starts to change color. The blood supply to the tooth has been cut off and the nerve is dying, so the tooth may turn brown, grey, or black. You’ll probably also feel severe pain as the nerve dies.
If you notice these signs, it’s very important to contact a dentist for help. You can call our office by dialing (336) 434-3186 and we’ll get you into our office to examine your tooth.
The Root Canal Treatment Process
Prior to your procedure, Dr. MacDonald will apply a local anesthetic to your infected tooth and the area surrounding it, ensuring you won’t feel any pain. Once your tooth is numb, he’ll create a small opening, removing the infected tissue. Then, he’ll fill the empty chamber with a special dental resin that will help protect against future infections.
After your tooth has been thoroughly cleaned and filled, Dr. MacDonald will reseal it and place a customized porcelain crown on top. The crown is natural-looking and will improve the strength of your tooth, helping to preserve the health and appearance for many years to come.
Does Root Canal Therapy Hurt?
Root canal therapy generally doesn’t hurt. Though the procedure has a reputation for being painful, modern technology and techniques have vastly improved the patient’s experience. Most patients compare root canals to receiving a tooth filling.
At our office, we use the Anutra Local Anesthetic Delivery System. This innovative system makes local anesthesia more reliable and numbs the area almost immediately.
What is Root Canal Retreatment?
Root canal retreatment is a second treatment of a tooth that has previously received root canal therapy. Sometimes, the root structures of the tooth can be complex and make complete treatment difficult. If all structures aren’t cleared out, the infection can resurface.
If you require retreatment, the procedure will be very similar to the initial treatment. We try our very best to only have to complete one root canal therapy on a tooth by using comprehensive scans to map your root structure prior to the procedure.
Visit Triad Cosmetic Dentistry
We don’t want to see you lose any natural teeth. If you’ve been experiencing severe tooth pain and feel you may have an infection, we’re here to help. Dr. MacDonald and our team can assess your oral health and determine if root canal therapy is the solution for you.
Please call (336) 434-3186 or email our Triad Cosmetic Dentistry Practice serving the Triad and all of Central NC today to learn more about how we can help you, and schedule your cosmetic dentistry appointment with us today!