If you wince when someone mentions a root canal, you are certainly not alone. Root canal treatment has long been considered the frightening bogeyman of dentistry. But what if we told you everything you thought you knew about root canals was false?
Modern dentistry has made it so root canals are entirely painless so you can get the essential dental care you need for a healthy and beautiful smile. People often conflate the pain from an untreated infected tooth with the root canal treatment itself. It’s a common misconception! However, root canal treatment actually relieves pain from infection and restores your smile’s comfort and function.
At Edmond Dental Center, Dr. Michael Chandler and our team are highly skilled and experienced in quick, painless, and effective root canal therapy. Root canal treatment may seem scary, but they’re necessary to protect your oral health from further damage and disease––not to mention it immediately alleviates your pain.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal treatment is named for the area of the tooth it repairs and restores. Each tooth has a root and within each root is a canal that holds all the tooth’s nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels called the pulp. The dental pulp containing these tiny but vital, nutrient-rich superhighways can become infected. If left untreated, the infected dental pulp can lead to pain or an abscess, according to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE).
Root canal treatment protects and repairs your natural tooth from decayed or infected tooth pulp. During a root canal treatment, your dentist carefully removes the infected or inflamed pulp, gently cleans the tooth, and finishes the procedure by filling in the empty roots and sealing the tooth for enhanced protection. And the best part? Your dentist uses local anesthesia, so you don’t feel a thing. After two dental visits, your smile will be healthy, happy, and pain-free again!
Why Might I Need a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment is necessary when decay or infection reaches the inner layer of the tooth called the pulp.
Common reasons for needing a root canal treatment are:
- A cracked, broken, or fractured tooth
- A deep cavity
- Faulty dental fillings or crowns
Signs you may have a dental pulp infection and need a root canal include:
- Tooth sensitivity with hot or cold temperatures
- Persistent dental pain
- Tooth discoloration
- Swollen gums
- A chipped or cracked tooth
- Pain or soreness when chewing or touching the tooth
- Swelling of the face
- Loose tooth or tooth loss
An infection in your tooth’s root and pulp can be dangerous and painful. If you have any of these symptoms or suspect you have an infection, see your dentist as quickly as possible for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
The Root Canal Treatment Process
Root canal treatment usually takes two dental visits to complete.
The First Dental Visit
Before starting the treatment, we examine your mouth, review your medical history, and assess your condition through a visual exam and digital x-rays. Radiography allows us to see pathologies deep within the root canals of your teeth so we can guarantee precise and efficient treatment.
Right before the root canal procedure, we administer a local anesthetic to numb the area and help make the patient comfortable. The dentist then carefully eliminates all signs of decay, enters the tooth’s root canal, and gently removes the pulp.
Once the diseased matter is gone, we sterilize and irrigate the now-empty root canal and fill it with a substance called gutta-percha. This substance prevents further infection from entering the tooth. Finally, we seal the tooth with a temporary filling until it’s time to return to the dental office for a final filling or crown.
The Second Dental Visit
The second appointment is when we remove the temporary filling and apply a final filling. If needed, the dentist may place a pin in the tooth to ensure its structural integrity. Once the tooth filling is complete, we will take x-rays for post-operative records and ensure the root canal was a success.
Depending on your unique case, you may need a dental crown instead of a dental filling. Your dentist will inform you of this before your second root canal appointment.
Sometimes, a second appointment may be necessary for the following:
- Calcified canals
- Waiting for an infection to heal before resuming treatment
- Extra time for treating another infected canal
- An obstruction in the canal requiring further treatment
Ultimately, root canals require two separate appointments because our dental team wants to ensure the tooth is thoroughly clean and free of disease, properly sealed, and protected from further damage. The AAE states that a tooth with a root canal can last for a lifetime if well cared for.
Gentle, Pain-Free Root Canals in Edmond, OK
At Edmond Dental Center, we offer gentle root canal treatment so you can finally enjoy a stress-free, healthy smile! Our friendly and knowledgeable dental team is always happy to help by answering questions, addressing concerns, and educating our patients. Please contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our root canal treatment or to schedule your next appointment with Dr. Michael Chandler.