What is root canal therapy?
Root canal therapy is used to treat and repair a decayed tooth. This procedure is needed whenever the tooth pulp is infected and the body is unable to attack the infection successfully. It may also be required even when the tooth pulp is inflamed and at risk of infection.
Root canal therapy is mistakenly believed to be a painful procedure, but it is not. Local anesthesia is applied during the procedure. After the root canal therapy, you will feel relieved at the immediate effect: no tooth pain, throbbing, or burning sensations.
What are the signs you need root canal therapy in Libertyville?
Dental pulp, when decayed or inflamed, can be painful. Pain in your mouth, however, does not always indicate the need for a root canal. There are signs or symptoms you may notice that will indeed indicate you probably need root canal therapy, and these signs include:
- A dark hole or cavity in the tooth — although many dark holes are between teeth or in a tooth in the back of your mouth, so you won’t likely notice it;
- Discoloration or darkening of the tooth — discoloration is more readily noticeable;
- Prolonged or chronic tooth sensitivity, especially when teeth are exposed to foods or drinks that are hot, cold, or sweet — after exposure to the latter, your teeth will still remain sensitive or painful;
- Severe toothache pain whenever you chew something or apply any kind of pressure in the mouth; and/or
- Swelling, tenderness, or a persistent pimple on the gums.
Sometimes, however, there may be no signs at all. If left untreated, the decayed tooth can develop an abscess or infection in the root of the tooth. It is always best to see your dentist regularly so that a decayed tooth can be identified and remedied quickly.
What is the root canal procedure?
Root canal therapy is a pretty standard procedure. It first begins with an x-ray of the infected tooth. The x-ray will identify the shape of the canal and the presence or not of an abscess at the root of the tooth.
For some people who waited too long, the nerves may already be dead, so they may not even need anesthesia, but it is usually applied anyway to the gum to numb the area. It is always best that you are as relaxed as possible because tension in the area can make it harder for the dentist to perform the therapy.
The dentist then isolates the tooth with a rubber dam and drills a hole in the tooth. A pulpectomy — which is the process of extracting inflamed or infected pulp, dead nerves, debris, and bacteria from the root canal — is performed.
The roots are cleaned and sterilized before a biocompatible substance, like gutta-percha, is used to fill the roots. To seal the gutta-percha in the root, cement is applied and a temporary filling caps it off.
At your next dental visit, the tooth will be cleaned, the temporary filling is removed, and the permanent filling or a crown is placed.
What happens if you have an abscess?
In cases where an abscess is present, the dentist must drain the puss and apply medication to the root canal. The bacteria must be completely removed and/or killed. The gutta-percha is applied only when the dentist confirms you are clear of an infection (or clear of the threat of renewed infection).
Benefits of Root Canal Therapy in Libertyville
The first and foremost benefit of root canal therapy is the removal of constant pain in your mouth. Other benefits are subsidiary but just as important:
- Preservation of the natural tooth
- Preservation of the function of the jaw (improved chewing and speaking)
- Improved appearance and confidence
- Return to a normal distribution of your biting force
- Excessive wear prevention on neighboring teeth
- Bone loss prevention around the infected root.
- Ensures a normal biting force distribution.
Root canal treatment is about saving natural teeth, preventing further infection, and letting you get your mouth in good working order again with the accompanying pain. Unlike what you may have heard, the procedure involves no pain and is completed within three sessions, if not less — depending on the severity of your tooth decay and/or infection.
If your teeth have been hurting you for some time, then it’s probably time to visit your dentist. Only after a thorough check will the dentist be able to confirm you require root canal therapy. It is important to your oral health that you get it completed as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule an appointment, and if you require root canal therapy, we will advise you of the process and what your options are in Libertyville, IL.