Many people consider a root canal treatment to be potentially an unpleasant experience. You might even feel a few butterflies fluttering in your stomach if we were to recommend one for you.
But there’s nothing actually to dread about this common and very effective treatment. The procedure doesn’t cause pain; in fact, it most likely relieves tooth pain. What’s more, it could save a tooth that would be otherwise lost.
The name comes from narrow passageways extending from the tip of the root to the innermost tooth pulp. The pulp contains nerves and other structures once vital to early tooth development. And although they’re not as important in a fully mature tooth, those nerves still function. In other words, they can still feel stimulation or pain.
That shouldn’t be a problem with a healthy tooth. But if tooth decay invades the inner pulp, those nerves now under attack will begin firing. You’ll know something’s wrong. As bad as it feels, though, the toothache isn’t your worst problem: if the decay isn’t stopped, it can spread through the root canals to the bone that could eventually lead to losing the tooth.
A root canal treatment removes the decayed pulp tissue and protects the tooth from re-infection. We first deaden the tooth and surrounding tissues with a local anesthesia and set up a rubber dam around the tooth to protect it from contamination from the surrounding environment. We then drill a small access hole through the enamel and dentin to reach the pulp chamber and root canals.
Using special instruments, we remove all the diseased tissue from the pulp and flush out the empty chamber and root canals with antibacterial solutions. After re-shaping the root canals, we fill them and the pulp chamber with gutta-percha, a rubber-like biocompatible material that conforms well to the root canal walls. We seal the gutta-percha with adhesive cement and then fill the access hole. Later, we’ll give the tooth further protection with a custom crown.
After the procedure, you may experience short-term minor discomfort usually manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen. The good news, though, is that the excruciating nerve pain from within the tooth will be gone—and your tooth will have a new lease on life.
If you would like more information on saving a problem tooth with root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”
Signs of needing a root canal can vary greatly and may even take you by surprise. However, learning the early warning signs of teeth decay can help you undergo treatment early, saving you from a toothache or worse. What are the signs that you may need a root canal? Find out more about the symptoms of teeth decay and what you can do to prevent them with Dr. Garrett Oka at Sweet Tooth Dental in Kailua Kona, HI.
Do I need a root canal?
A root canal becomes necessary when the inner portion of the tooth which houses its soft tissues and nerves becomes infected or damaged. During a root canal, your dentist will remove the inner tissues from the tooth’s pulp chamber, clean the tooth and scrub its decay away, then fill the tooth using composite resin filling materials. You may need a root canal if you have a tooth with significant decay, such as one that produces a toothache. Your infected tooth may also be sensitive to hot and cold or feel pain when you bite down. Unexplained bad breath, a brown spot, or a hole in the tooth can indicate a cavity which may require a root canal. A damaged tooth which reveals the nerves inside can also benefit from root canal therapy.
Preventing Teeth Decay
Preventing tooth decay is easy with a strong at-home oral care routine and help from your dentist. Brushing twice daily and flossing between each tooth once daily is enough to drastically reduce your chances of developing teeth decay and gum disease. These daily tasks coupled with routine examinations and cleanings with your dentist every six months will keep your smile clean and healthy for years to come.
What to Expect From Root Canal Therapy in Kailua Kona, HI
Though it tends to have a bad reputation, a root canal is a common procedure which normally lasts less than an hour. The procedure begins with your dentist administering a local anesthetic to ensure that you do not feel any pain or discomfort during your procedure. During the procedure itself, your dentist will use specialized tools to remove the inner contents of the tooth and scrub the inside of the tooth to ensure no infected tissues remains inside the tooth. Then, your dentist fills the tooth to restore its structure and, if necessary, places a dental crown to protect the tooth from further damage.
For more information on root canal or how it can benefit you and your smile, please contact Dr. Garrett Oka at Sweet Tooth Dental in Kailua Kona, HI. Call (808) 329-0889 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Oka today!
“You need a root canal,” isn’t something you want to hear during a dental visit. But whatever your preconceptions about it may be, the fact is root canal treatments don’t cause pain — they alleviate it. What’s more, it may be your best chance to save a tooth that’s at high risk for loss.
First of all, root canal treatments address a serious problem that may be occurring inside a tooth — tooth decay that’s infiltrated the pulp chamber. If it’s not stopped, the decay will continue to advance through the root canals to the bone and weaken the tooth’s attachment. To access the pulp and root canals we first administer a local anesthesia and then create an opening in the tooth, typically in the biting surface.
After accessing the pulp chamber, we then remove all the pulp tissue and clean out any infection. Â We then fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals with a special filling and seal the opening we first created. The procedure is often followed some weeks later with a laboratory made crown that permanently covers the tooth for extra protection against another occurrence of decay and protects the tooth from fracturing years later.
Besides stopping the infection from continuing beyond the roots and saving the tooth from loss, root canal treatments also alleviate the symptoms caused by decay, including tenderness and swelling of surrounding gum tissue and sensitivity to hot and cold foods or pressure when biting down. And, it reduces pain — the dull ache or sometimes acute pain from the tooth that may have brought you to our office in the first place.
General dentists commonly perform root canal treatments; in more complicated cases they’re performed by an endodontist, a specialist in root canal treatments. Afterward, any discomfort is usually managed with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
Root canal treatments are a common procedure with a high rate of success. Undergoing one will end the pain and discomfort your infected tooth has caused you; more importantly, your tooth will gain a new lease on life.
If you would like more information on root canal treatments, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Common Concerns about Root Canal Treatment.”