Root canal treatment (also called endodontic therapy) is needed when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canals, becomes inflamed or infected. This is typically the result of deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or even a crack or chip in the tooth. During the procedure, the dentist will remove the infected tissue, clean the canals, and fill and seal the tooth.
Symptoms of a Root Canal Infection
- Bad breath or foul odor from the mouth
- Canker sores that won't heal
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
- Pain and swelling in the gums around the tooth, though it may be hard to notice at first
- Darkening of a tooth
- Swelling around an entire tooth
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's a good idea to make an appointment to see our dentist right away. Our dentist will be able to examine your teeth and determine if you need an endodontic procedure such as root canal therapy. An X-ray may be needed first to determine the severity of the infection.
The Root Canal Procedure
During a root canal procedure, the dentist will use local anesthesia to numb the area surrounding the affected tooth. The dentist will then make a small hole in the chewing surface of the tooth to access the diseased or injured pulp. Using small files, the dentist will carefully remove the infected tissue from the pulp chamber and the root canals.
Once completely cleaned, the dentist will fill and seal the tooth to prevent further infection and restore full functionality to the tooth. Most patients find that their symptoms subside after the procedure and that their smile is restored to comfort and function.
Although this process sounds painful, the procedure actually eliminates the root of the pain. Once the infection has been removed from the root, the pain will go away as well.
What to Expect After Root Canal
After you receive your root canal treatment, you may experience some mild sensitivity or discomfort in the treated area. It's normal to experience these symptoms after many dental treatments. Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen can help control any pain you experience. You may also be prescribed an antibiotic to prevent infection and reduce inflammation.
If you experience severe pain or pressure that lasts for several days, contact our dentist. You may need to follow up on your procedure if symptoms continue or worsen.
If you are in need of a root canal, visit Grant Family Dentistry at 335 6th St, Meeker, CO 81641, or call (970) 878-5853.