Posts for tag: root canal treatment
Dental patients have amazing options for tooth replacement. Dental implants, for example, can replace the entire tooth, root and crown, giving patients a new tooth nearly as good as the old one.
Nearly—but not exact. Even implants can't match the full benefits of a natural tooth, including one in less than perfect shape. Our first goal as dentists, then, is to save a diseased tooth if at all practical before considering replacing it.
That often involves a root canal treatment to address decay threatening a tooth's interior. The procedure requires drilling into the tooth to access its innermost pulp, cleaning out the pulp and root canals, and then filling the empty spaces. Since all dentists are trained in basic root canal treatment, your general dentist may be able to perform it.
But some dental situations call for more advanced endodontics, the dental specialty for treating disease and other problems inside a tooth. So, in what situations would you see an endodontist?
When your dentist refers you. Your dentist wants you to receive the level of treatment necessary to save your tooth. After examination, they may determine your situation would be better served by the advanced training, equipment and techniques (including surgery) of an endodontist.
When your tooth has complications. Patients often need an endodontist when existing factors complicate treatment of advanced tooth decay. A patient may have dental pain that's difficult to pinpoint, requiring the diagnostic resources of an endodontist. It's also common for a tooth's root canal network to be highly intricate, and which respond better to treatment with specialized endodontic tools and techniques.
When root canal treatment fails. Most root canal treatments are successful in protecting the tooth from further infection. That said, it's still possible for a root-canaled tooth to become re-infected or develop more problems. Again, an endodontist and their “tool chest“ re-treating a root-canaled tooth may be the best option for saving it.
You also don't have to wait for a referral—you can see an endodontist if you believe they would be best to treat your decayed tooth. You can find one near you by visiting an online endodontist directory at www.aae.org/find. An endodontist may be the lifesaver your diseased tooth needs.
Have you been struggling with regular tooth pain that has made you concerned about the state of your smile? Here at Art of Dentistry in Milwaukee, WI, dentist Dr. Paul Scholl and his professional team see many the patient on the verge of losing a tooth. Luckily, root canal therapy can save smiles and heal the uncomfortable symptoms that come with tooth decay. Learn more below!
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a pulp-filled space that occupies each tooth root. Containing nerves, connective tissue, and tiny blood vessels, tooth pulp sometimes becomes inflamed and infected due to decay, injury, or another circumstance which exposes inner tooth structure to bacteria.
Root canal therapy is the restorative procedure that removes the sick pulp and replaces it will a biocompatible putty. Dr. Scholl uses specialized tools to extract the pulp and reshape the canal walls. Typically, he instills some antibiotics to quell any infection, as well. He restores up to four canals as needed.
A temporary crown protects the tooth as it heals. After a week or two, you return to Art of Dentistry for placement of a realistic and resilient crown made of high-quality ceramic. The tooth looks natural, feels good, and functions well under the pressures of biting and chewing.
What are the signs that you need one?
Dr. Scholl often recommends root canal therapy when symptoms, X-rays, and oral examination shows the tooth is in danger of failure. Your symptoms may include:
- Toothache pain and dental sensitivity to hot and cold foods and liquids and to the pressure exerted on the chewing surface
- Darkened tooth enamel
- Reddened gum tissue
- Drainage from the tooth
- Bad breath which cannot be treated with mouthwash or brushing your teeth
- Jaw swelling
- Loss of a substantial amount of tooth structure, filling material or crown
At the first sign of any tooth discomfort or change in function or appearance, call your dentist. The sooner you act, the quicker and easier your recovery will be!
What happens afterward?
Root canal treatments are highly successful and relieve pain and preserve teeth for many years. To keep your gums healthy, be sure to brush your restored tooth twice daily with a soft brush and floss around it, too. Additionally, see your dentist semi-annually for prophylactic cleaning and examination.
If you develop any of the above-mentioned symptoms, we can help. Dr. Scholl and his team at Art of Dentistry work hard to prevent serious dental problems, however, if they do happen, a root canal treatment could be your best path to a fully restored smile. Call us at (414) 445-3670.
As the host of America's Funniest Home Videos on ABC TV, Alfonso Ribeiro has witnessed plenty of unintentional physical comedy…or, as he puts it in an interview with Dear Doctor–Dentistry & Oral Health magazine, "When people do stuff and you're like, 'Dude, you just hurt yourself for no reason!'" So when he had his own dental dilemma, Alfonso was determined not to let it turn onto an "epic fail."
The television personality was in his thirties when a painful tooth infection flared up. Instead of ignoring the problem, he took care of it by visiting his dentist, who recommended a root canal procedure. "It's not like you wake up and go, 'Yay, I'm going to have my root canal today!'" he joked. "But once it's done, you couldn't be happier because the pain is gone and you're just smiling because you're no longer in pain!"
Alfonso's experience echoes that of many other people. The root canal procedure is designed to save an infected tooth that otherwise would probably be lost. The infection may start when harmful bacteria from the mouth create a small hole (called a cavity) in the tooth's surface. If left untreated, the decay bacteria continue to eat away at the tooth's structure. Eventually, they can reach the soft pulp tissue, which extends through branching spaces deep inside the tooth called root canals.
Once infection gets a foothold there, it's time for root canal treatment! In this procedure, the area is first numbed; next, a small hole is made in the tooth to give access to the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. The diseased tissue is then carefully removed with tiny instruments, and the canals are disinfected to prevent bacteria from spreading. Finally, the tooth is sealed up to prevent re-infection. Following treatment, a crown (cap) is usually required to restore the tooth's full function and appearance.
Root canal treatment sometimes gets a bad rap from people who are unfamiliar with it, or have come across misinformation on the internet. The truth is, a root canal doesn't cause pain: It relieves pain! The alternatives—having the tooth pulled or leaving the infection untreated—are often much worse.
Having a tooth extracted and replaced can be costly and time consuming…yet a missing tooth that isn't replaced can cause problems for your oral health, nutrition and self-esteem. And an untreated infection doesn't just go away on its own—it continues to smolder in your body, potentially causing serious problems. So if you need a root canal, don't delay!
If you would like additional information on root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”