If you have a tooth that’s badly damaged by decay or trauma, having it pulled isn’t your only option. In fact, every year in the U.S., millions of badly damaged teeth are saved thanks to root canal treatment, a special endodontic procedure designed to help patients preserve their teeth and avoid extractions. At Smile Workshop Family Dentistry and Orthodontics, our team uses advanced treatment options tailored to your needs, including pain management techniques to keep you relaxed and comfortable.
When are root canals performed?
Root canals are performed to save a tooth
that’s badly damaged by decay or trauma. Before root canals came along, the only solution for a badly damaged tooth was to have the tooth pulled. Extraction is still an option, but considering the missing tooth needs to be replaced with a bridge, denture, or implant, this option tends to be considerably more costly than a root canal — plus, it’s almost always preferable to preserve a natural tooth when possible to help avoid bite pattern problems later on.
Pulp damage typically is associated with a range of symptoms, including:
- Deep, persistent toothache
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods or beverages
- Swelling around the tooth
- Pus discharge or a foul taste in the mouth
- Pain when biting, chewing or pressing on the tooth
Although tooth pain is the most common symptom associated with pulp damage, not every toothache
means you need a root canal. X-rays and an exam by a family dentist at Smile Workshop will help determine if a root canal is the best option.
What happens during a root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is similar to a filling in that it’s used to repair and restore a tooth that’s been damaged, usually by decay. But while a traditional filling repairs the more superficial layers of your tooth, a root canal is used to treat deeper decay and infection located in the central part of the tooth where the pulp is found.
If you need a root canal, the first step will be to numb your tooth thoroughly to prevent discomfort. If you’re anxious, we can prescribe an oral sedative or nitrous oxide to help you relax and even doze off during your treatment. Next, the dentist uses a drill and special tools to access and extract the damaged part of your tooth while preserving the healthy tooth material. The cavity is gently cleaned, then sealed to prevent bacteria and germs from penetrating. Finally, the cavity is filled using a special material to protect the cavity and strengthen the tooth.
If your tooth is infected, the dentist may use a medicated filling material, leaving it in place for a week or so to destroy harmful germs, then replacing it with a regular filling. Afterward, your tooth will be covered with a crown to provide additional protection for the tooth. After a root canal, you can use over-the-counter pain medicine to relieve any discomfort you might feel once the anesthetic wears off.
Root canal treatment: For the health of your teeth
The dental team at Smile Workshop offers comprehensive endodontic care for every member of your family, and with 14 locations in and around Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Amarillo, Texas, it’s easy to keep your smile looking its best. If you need a root canal or any endodontics procedure if you’re having any type of tooth pain or other symptom, don’t put off getting the care you need. Give us a call at 1-888-833-8404 and book an appointment today