Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that is primarily concerned with the interior parts of the teeth, also called the pulp. The pulp of teeth contains all the blood vessels and nerve tissues that keep the teeth alive.
At Oakwood Dental, we’re fully equipped to provide our patients with various endodontic treatments, including root canal therapy.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is actually a part of your anatomy. It is the interior, canal-shaped portion of the root of a tooth. The term root canal, however, is also often used to refer to a common endodontic treatment known as root canal therapy.
Why You Might Need a Root Canal
Sometimes, the inside of a tooth can become compromised due to a chip, fracture, severe tooth decay, an old amalgam filling popping loose, or even as a result of poor dental work performed in the past.
When the tooth’s interior is exposed to the outside, it can become infected with bacteria. When this happens, treatment with root canal therapy is necessary to prevent further infection and save the tooth.
A root canal is often the last available treatment option for saving a natural tooth and avoiding the need for an extraction.
How To Know If You Need a Root Canal
The only way to know for sure whether you need a root canal is to schedule a dental examination with a dentist. There are, however, some signs and symptoms that you might need a root canal because when a cavity progresses far enough that the interior of the tooth becomes infected, it then affects the nerves of the tooth.
Signs and symptoms you might need a root canal include:
- Persistent toothache
- Extreme sensitivity in the tooth
- Tender, swollen, and painful gums
- Discolored gums
- Bad breath
- Swollen or tender lymph nodes along the jawline
If you experience any of the symptoms, we recommend scheduling an appointment right away.
What Happens During a Root Canal Procedure?
The process begins with a dental examination and dental X-rays to verify that root canal therapy is actually the most appropriate treatment option.
The procedure begins with administering a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area. A dental dam is then placed to isolate the treatment area from the rest of the mouth.
Once prepared, the dentist then drills the tooth and removes the pulp from the tooth, including both infected and healthy tissues. At this time, the dentist smooths the interior of the root canal walls, too.
When the interior of the tooth is completely clean and dry, we fill the tooth with a rubbery substance called gutta-percha. The top of the tooth is then sealed with a temporary dental filling made of composite resin. This filling protects the tooth until your permanent crown is ready to be placed. We might also fit you with a temporary crown at this time to protect and hold your tooth together.
Once your permanent crown is ready, it will cap and completely cover the portion of your tooth above the gum line. Permanent crowns are designed to fit comfortably and blend seamlessly with your surrounding teeth.
Are Root Canals Painful?
Root canal therapy has a bad reputation for being a painful, uncomfortable procedure. However, we take extra care to ensure that our patients experience no pain or discomfort during treatment with the use of local anesthetics.
Pain during the recovery period of a root canal is usually minor and can be adequately relieved with the application of a cold compress and/or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.
Root Canal Therapy and Restorations in Bucyrus
Our dentists are experienced in performing root canals and offer a comprehensive list of restorative dental treatments to help patients keep their natural teeth for life and restore their smiles when teeth are missing or otherwise damaged.
To learn more about the restorative dentistry services available at Oakwood Dental, we welcome you to contact our dental office in Bucyrus today.