If you’ve recently learned that you need a root canal, know that you are in good company. Some 15 million root canals are performed in the U.S. each year. Still, you may have questions about this common procedure, which works to save teeth that have been damaged by injury or decay.
First and foremost, how will you find a dentist to perform your root canal? This is important since advanced training is required to successfully complete this procedure and provide patients relief from the pain that they are experiencing.
The skilled dentists at SEDA Dental of North Miami Beach, FL, are highly experienced in performing root canal therapy. Below, they share their expert advice with patients before undergoing treatment.
What is a root canal?
An infection in the pulp of a tooth, which contains the tooth’s nerves and blood supply, may be caused by a cavity, a deep crack in the tooth, or a physical trauma. The infected interior structure and pulp of a tooth are removed as part of a root canal, which is considered a surgical procedure. The interior chambers of the root are also removed. The empty chamber is sterilized to ensure no debris or infection remains, and the tooth is filled and sealed.
Why do I need a root canal?
In general, root canals are performed when an infection is present deep inside of a tooth. Typically accompanied by severe pain, it is possible for the tooth’s pulp to become laden with bacteria and become infected. This usually occurs as a result of a significant cavity that has gone untreated, a crack, or some type of physical trauma to the tooth. An abscess may also be present. This condition can be serious since bacteria can spread elsewhere in the body. Without proper treatment, it is possible that the tooth will need to be removed.
Patients who do not experience tooth pain may still need a root canal. The highly trained dentists at SEDA Dental of North Miami Beach use state-of-the-art equipment to determine whether the pulp of the tooth is damaged or infected. If so, a root canal may be required. For example, if you notice a pimple-like growth near a damaged tooth in your mouth, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible. This tissue may be what’s called a fistula that drains pus from inside of an infected tooth. Because it prevents pressure from building inside of the tooth, no pain may be felt. Nevertheless, the tooth may still require a root canal. Similarly, a tooth that has been injured may require root canal therapy, especially if its nerve is exposed as the result of a fracture.
Who should perform my root canal?
Although root canals have a reputation for being extremely painful and unpleasant, this is rarely the case. This important oral surgery can effectively save the tooth, help restore proper oral function, and alleviate a patient’s pain. This complex therapy is best handled by skilled dentists, such as those at SEDA Dental of North Miami Beach who have been specially trained and possess vast experience in performing a variety of root canal procedures.
What happens during a root canal?
North Miami Beach area patients will be sedated or receive another form of anesthetic to help them feel relaxed and comfortable throughout the procedure. Our dentists also thoroughly numb the affected tooth. A thin sheet of rubber, called a dental dam, may be installed to help keep the tooth dry and free of debris during surgery.
A small drill is used to open the tooth. The skilled dentists at SEDA Dental of North Miami Beach evaluate the inner chamber of the tooth before employing small files to remove any pulp that is damaged or infected. The chamber, along with the root, may be shaped and cleaned to remove any pulp that remains. A solution may be applied to eliminate any bacteria in the chamber as well as to help diminish the risk for bacteria to develop.
Once cleaned and dried, our dentists fill the chamber with a special material that seals and protects the interior of the tooth. A temporary filling is used to close the tooth, which may be affixed with a temporary crown to support and protect it. This will be replaced later by a custom-made permanent crown or a similar restorative device, which should look and perform exactly like a natural tooth.
Recovering from your procedure
Following your root canal therapy, the dentists at SEDA Dental of North Miami Beach will provide you with instructions designed to help you manage any residual pain that may be experienced. You will also receive instructions for taking care of your temporary crown until your follow-up appointment when the permanent crown will be installed, usually within a few weeks.
Once the anesthesia that was used to numb the mouth during the procedure wears off, it is not unusual for the area around the treated tooth to be tender. After remaining open for an extended period during surgery, your jaw may also feel a bit sore for several days. These temporary symptoms usually respond well to over-the-counter pain medications, or our dentists may prescribe a stronger pain reliever.
It is a common misconception that following a root canal, the treated tooth will no longer experience pain. While the tooth will no longer be affected by temperature changes produced by hot and cold foods and beverages, it may still be sensitive for several days following your treatment. For a time, the tooth may feel slightly different in your mouth than your other existing teeth. Be sure to contact our dental office immediately if after your root canal therapy you experience any of the following symptoms:
Noticeable swelling inside or outside of the mouth
Severe pressure or pain that persists for more than a few days
Any of the same symptoms that you had before your treatment
A rash, hives or itching anywhere on your body
If your temporary filling or crown comes loose or falls out
A bite that feels uneven
Relying on the experts
Root canal therapy is a complicated dental procedure that is best performed by a highly trained and experienced professionals such as the dentists at SEDA Dental of North Miami Beach. You are encouraged to contact our office and schedule an appointment if you think you may need a root canal. Our dentists can expertly determine whether a root canal is necessary and work closely with patients to keep them comfortable and pain-free during and after treatment.