Root Canal Treatment
Endodontics deals with the root of your teeth. If you have a diseased or cracked tooth, an endodontist will be in charge of your case.
Endodontists work on tooth pulp using root canal therapy. Endodontics is needed when the nerves of the teeth are affected by decay or infection. A root canal saves the tooth by removing the pulp, nerves, bacteria, and any decay within. The space is then filled with medicated dental materials, restoring the tooth to its full function.
Are endodontics painful?
No more than other dental procedures. Many patients believe that removing the tooth is the solution due to their fear of endodontic therapy, but you must realize that tooth extraction is ultimately more costly, causing significant problems for adjacent teeth.
The actual root canal feels the same as when you get a dental filling. Because your tooth is so infected, you might feel extreme tooth pain before you get a root canal.
How did I end up needing an endodontic treatment?
Your tooth nerve and pulp might get infected because of tooth decay that was not taken care of and spread deeper into your tooth; or because your tooth enamel was cracked or chipped from tooth trauma.
How do I know if I need to see an endodontist?
The only person who can determine if you need endodontic treatment is your dentist, but some warning signs are:
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- Severe toothache pain
- Swelling or tenderness
Once you experience any of the above symptoms, get to an endodontist. Often there are no outward symptoms, so regular checkups and examinations will ensure that root canal therapy, if needed, is done promptly.
Root Canal Recovery Tips
While you probably won’t feel any pain during any endodontic treatment, you’ll probably be sore once the pain medication has worn off. Here are some tips for recovering from your root canal:
- Don’t be afraid to take an over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen.
- Avoid chewing on the side where you had the root canal. Crispy, crunchy, hot or cold foods could aggravate your pain.
- Stick with soft foods over the next few days. Soup, overcooked pasta, applesauce, yogurt, mashed potatoes or your favorite mushy food are great choices.
- Get plenty of rest.
What If A Root Canal Doesn’t Work?
What do you do if an infection persists after a root canal? If any infection is left, it festers and the infection worsens. This is where a dental treatment called an apicoectomy comes in.
What Is An Apicoectomy?
During an apicoectomy, the tip of the infected root is removed and then sealed. Because only this section of the root is removed the procedure is sometimes referred to as a “root end” surgery.
During this surgery, the endodontist will slice and pull away a section of the gum, exposing the infected root beneath. They will then remove the tip of the root and seal it.
Dentists usually also take this opportunity to check for hidden cracks in the root that could be causing added pain. Often if there are other cracks the tooth will have to be extracted.
The procedure usually lasts an hour. Recovery time is anywhere from a few days to a week. You’ll experience some bruising, swelling and pain at the site of the incision. At the end of the healing period, you may have to return to have stitches removed.
How can I prevent needing a root canal?
The best way to prevent the need for any endodontics is practicing good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, floss daily and visit your dentist for bi-annual teeth cleanings.
It’s also important to have a healthy diet and avoid eating sugary or starchy foods that harm your teeth. If you play contact sports, always wear a mouthguard to prevent broken or chipped teeth.
If you are experiencing tooth pain or are in need of a dental check-up in Austin, contact the friendly, experienced staff at the Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry today and set up your appointment at (512) 982-0317!