Root canal therapy is usually needed when the nerve of a tooth root is affected by tooth decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, removal of the tooth pulp, nerves, bacteria, and any decay must occur and the tooth needs to be filled in with medicated dental materials to restore the tooth to its full function.
A root canal is often the treatment of choice to save a tooth that would otherwise die and have to be removed eventually. Many patients come in believing that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution. However, tooth extraction will ultimately be more costly and can cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and can last a lifetime with proper care. However, occasionally a tooth may have to be retreated due to new infections.
Here are some signs and symptoms that may signify the necessity for root canal therapy:
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold.
- Severe toothache pain.
- Sometimes no symptoms are present.
- Swelling and/or tenderness.
Reasons for root canal therapy:
- Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
- Infection or abscesses have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
- Injury or trauma to the tooth.
What is a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment is a type of endodontic therapy that is often recommended if the tooth pulp and nerves have become severely infected or damaged. When left untreated, this type of infection and disease may cause the tooth to die and tooth extraction will be necessary. To restore the tooth back to health and avoid tooth extraction, our skilled dentists and staff will remove the infected and injured tissues from within the tooth, clean it out completely, and fill it with a medicated material to protect the remaining tooth. We will then cap the tooth with a restoration, such as a dental crown, to return the tooth to its original shape and structure. In most cases, a root canal can be completed in only one or two comfortable visits to our dental office in El Paso, TX.
Is Root Canal Therapy the Best Solution?
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, we are available at all times to respond. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.
What to Expect After Your Root Canal
In the past, root canals were extremely painful. This is one reason why people sometimes avoided such procedures. Dentists now have pain-relieving measures that can be used to reduce the amount of pain you experience during the procedure.
Before the process begins, your dentist will apply a local anesthetic that minimizes pain. You might still feel pressure during the cleaning, but you shouldn’t be in pain during the actual procedure.
As the local anesthetic wears off after the root canal, you might experience mild pain and sensitivity. This is related to the cleaning process. During the cleaning process, your dentist makes a small opening in the crown of the tooth and cleans out the diseased pulp inside the pulp chamber of the tooth. While uncomfortable, any pain and sensitivity following a root canal should only last a few days.
Since the pain experienced after a root canal is usually mild, you’ll likely only need over-the-counter pain medications for relief. These include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB). You’ll want to check with your doctor before taking these medications to make sure they don’t interact with any supplements or prescriptions you already take.
You should also avoid chewing hard foods immediately following the root canal, as this can induce more pain.
Schedule a Root Canal Consultation Today!
Schedule a root canal consultation today from our great staff by calling us at (915) 778-4681, or filling out the form below to send us a message. Our front desk will get back to you as soon as possible and can answer any questions you might have prior to your visit.