What Is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy becomes necessary when the pulp inside a tooth becomes infected or inflamed. Infected pulp typically causes severe discomfort that makes eating and sleeping difficult.
A root canal is a painless procedure. During a root canal, the endodontist first opens the top of the tooth to access the pulp. They clean the inside of the tooth, removing all infected material with traditional files or an advanced method like the GentleWave® system. GentleWave® uses sonic energy and focused fluids to clear the inflamed material.
The endodontist then treats the infection inside the tooth. They may place an antibiotic inside the tooth and wait until the infection resolves before filling it with a particular material called gutta-percha. After the tooth is refilled and sealed, a general dentist places a permanent crown for a complete restoration.
Apicoectomy is another endodontic procedure closely related to root canals. Apicoectomies become necessary when infection progresses into the root's tip or apex. This procedure is also called apical surgery or root-end resection.
To perform an apicoectomy, the endodontist makes a small incision in the gum and bone to access the affected root tip. The endodontist cuts the root and removes the infected apex.
Benefits of Root Canal Therapy
Pain Relief. The discomfort many people feel when they need a root canal can interfere with daily life. A root canal solves the problem and allows the patient to relax.
Saving Your Natural Tooth. A root canal can be an excellent alternative to tooth extraction. If your tooth must come out, you will need a restoration like an implant or a partial denture since leaving a space in your mouth can lead to other dental problems. Root canals can often save compromised natural teeth. A crown is more straightforward to place and less costly than the alternative.
Better Overall Health. Root canals treat the infection before it can spread or cause further health problems. They can improve your overall wellness.
Are You a Good Candidate for Root Canal Therapy?
If you have severe tooth decay that has progressed through the enamel and into the dentin, a root canal may be appropriate. You may also receive a root canal if you have suffered a traumatic dental injury leading to exposed pulp.
In the case of a broken or severely decayed tooth, you will need enough tooth structure to support a dental crown after the root canal. If you do not have enough healthy tooth surfaces left, you may need an extraction instead.
A root canal typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes. It is a routine procedure and generally comfortable for the patient. Sometimes, the patient may need to make two appointments: one to access the infected pulp and treat the infection and another to reseal the tooth permanently.
What is the GentleWave® system?
The GentleWave® system is an excellent alternative to less-precise traditional root canal tools like files. The system works by flushing the canals clean of any infected pulp. It reduces the incidence of root canal retreatment and provides a comfortable patient experience.
How do I know whether I need a root canal?
If you experience pain focused on one tooth while chewing, it is likely that you need evaluation by an endodontist. You may also have swelling, lymph node problems, redness, tenderness, and extreme sensitivity to heat and cold. Sometimes patients who need root canals have no symptoms. In this case, rely on your family dentist's recommendation.
Is it difficult to recover from a root canal?
You may experience some tenderness after a root canal, but this should be mild. If you have not received sedation heavier than nitrous oxide, you should be able to resume your normal activities the same day.
Call Heart of Texas Endodontics
If you need a root canal or another endodontic procedure, turn to Heart of Texas Endodontics for help. Our friendly, caring staff will ensure that you receive quality treatment.
Call 254-778-4400 to make an appointment.