Root Canal Treatment relieves pain
Root canal therapy can relieve pain immediately. Root canal treatment by Roya Arbab DDS is the best choice – we prioritize and care for our patients who are in pain. Endodontic treatment can save a badly infected tooth from being pulled and provide immediate pain relief. According to the American Association of Endodontists, “Endodontists are specialists in saving teeth.” Find out why RCT is such an important tool in oral health care.
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What is a Root canal?
The visible part of your natural tooth, also called the crown, is fully protected by dental enamel all the way down to below the gum. It is protected by dentin, a naturally hard substance, from the top to the tip of the root. Within this strong cage-like structure, along the length of the entire root, is a long cavity called the root canal. This area, also called the pulp chamber, is filled with dental pulp.
The pulp, in turn, consists of nerve tissue and other matter, as well as blood vessels which feed the tooth. But, if the pulp gets infected, pressure begins building up inside the pulp because of the bacterial products and debris that forms. This can cause anything from significant discomfort to unbearable pain, and can even result in tooth loss. A root canal, or RCT, removes the infected pulp. This simple procedure is amazingly effective in providing immediate relief and preventing a tooth from being lost or pulled. RCT is a safe procedure, even if you’re wearing braces or have other dental solutions in place. The long-lasting relief provided by this treatment makes it well worth having it done, especially if you find yourself in a lot of pain.
How Can the Root canal get Infected?
You may be wondering, “How does the root canal get infected in the first place?” Simply put, the enamel is attacked by the food we eat. Long after eating, food particles can stick to the teeth, especially in the interdental spaces on the chewing surfaces of the molars, or rear teeth. These particles, made of sugar and carbohydrates, can be converted into acid by the bacteria present in your mouth, especially if you are not diligent about brushing and flossing. The acid reduces the protective properties of saliva on the enamel, resulting in erosion, and eventually cavities and tooth decay. If the cavities and decay aren’t addressed timely, the enamel is compromised and infection will eventually reach the pulp. Not only does this cause pain, but could result in diseases of the oral cavity, salivary glands, and your jaws.
Not only that, but this bacteria can also infect the gums. When gums are loosened, the dentin layer under the gum can be easily exposed and punctured, opening another route of infection to the pulp. Whichever way infection is introduced, one thing is sure – the pulp must be removed so that it doesn’t keep getting infected or develop an abscess, both of which could result in tooth loss or extraction. Other ways you can get infected pulp are an untreated dental injury, cracks or chips, root fracture, and even repeated restorations or RCT.
Why Not Extract?
This procedure costs more than extraction, so why not just pull the painful tooth and be done with it? The answer is simple: an artificial tooth can never be as good as a natural one. It is always best to save a tooth if possible because the ability to eat, smile and even talk can be affected if teeth are extracted without a natural replacement. A vacant socket can set off an erosion of the jaw bone, distortion of facial features, and a slew of problems.
When is Endodontic therapy needed?
Endodontics treatment can be used for a multitude of problems such as inflamed or dying nerves, dead nerves, cracked or even a dead tooth. It is also used for re-treating a failed RCT or even for removing nerves or teeth.
It usually requires a minimum of two visits. On the second visit, the patient and our dentist will see how the RCT has helped the issue and if further work will be needed. Sometimes a permanent filling might be done on the first visit, but if so, the recovery time won’t be very long.
Early Symptoms that Could Require a Root Canal
- Extremely sensitive to cold and hot.
What Your Dentist May Ask about the Symptoms
- Location of pain / swelling
- Duration of pain
- Type of pain – whether it’s continuous or pulsed.
It is possible you might not even notice that there is an issue brewing in the pulp until it is too late. However, here are some hints that are more obvious:
- Signs of pus discharge
- Visible changes in soft tissue, and asymmetry
While these signs are helpful, they may not be enough to make a definite diagnosis. Further testing might be necessary. Tests you might need are an X-ray, Percussion, Thermal sensation, and electronic Pulp testing.
Root canal procedure – Step by Step
- Imaging – The first step is to get an overall assessment of the tooth. An X-ray image is best for getting a clear picture of damage and what the root configuration is like. A rear tooth can have many roots, any one of which could be infected. It is important for your expert to know which root is infected and how it is oriented.
- Anesthesia – Because this procedure requires surgery, a local anesthesia is always used beforehand.
- Opening the Canal – A hole is drilled through the enamel to expose the problematic areas. This very act immediately releases any pressure inside, relieving much of the pain, so much that the patient won’t feel it even after local sedation wears off. For molars, the drilling is done in the crown, and for front teeth, it is done from the lingual side of the tooth.
- Cleaning – The canal is completely cleaned out when the nerve tissue and pulp matter are removed. It will then be flushed thoroughly, then dried. In the same manner, a pulpotomy will remove the tissue from the tooth chamber, but it is done on a baby tooth instead of a permanent one.
- Sealing – After cleaning the canal it can’t be left empty or you may get a repeat infection or abscess. Instead, it is filled with a rubbery material called gutta-percha and sealed with a resin sealant solution.
- Temporary Filling – During the healing period, it will be covered by a temporary restoration.
- Permanent Seal – At the next check up, if there are no complaints from the patient and everything looks good, the temporary filling or crown is replaced with a permanent one.
Why is Crown placement necessary after Surgery?
Endodontic therapy will leave the tooth vulnerable because now its walls are thinner. It can be reinforced with the help of a dental crown. If one is necessary, a temporary crown will be placed immediately while the impressions are sent to the lab to make a permanent one. It will then be fitted on a follow up visit. Sometimes, when the tooth is really weak or fractured, some additional work might be needed to make it ready for a crown. Find out exactly what a Dental crown is and how it can protect a weakened tooth.
Root canal aftercare
- Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like Ibuprofen can be used for pain.
- In case the patient is sensitive to NSAID or Aspirin, Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used.
- Prescription medicines should be used if pain persists. The possibility of remnant infection should be checked.
There is very little chance for an infection after a successful RCT. But, if infection is suspected:
- Antibiotics may be used to kill remnant infection.
- The canal may be reopened, cleaned, and sealed again during retreatment
Root canal cost
This procedure ranges in price, based on the condition of the tooth, skill of the Endodontist, and possible additional services needed (i.e. after hours appointment, crown, etc). As this can save a tooth from falling out or being extracted, the price is well worth it. Spend your money wisely by choosing an experienced specialist with good reviews, close to your work or home, and who has financing options that fit your budget. Our office accepts most PPOs, works with lenders like CareCredit, and offers payment plans.
“Root canal” – Hermosa Beach, CA – Roya Arbab
Emergency root canal needed? Please don’t spend another minute in pain. If you are in or near Hermosa Beach, California, make an appointment so we can help you get the best care for your tooth pain or any other oral health need. We give priority to our patients who are experiencing pain. We are in the South Bay of the Los Angeles County area.