The best way to keep your teeth healthy is with proper oral hygiene habits including brushing and flossing regularly and visiting the dentist every 6 months. Unfortunately, a dental problem can occur at any time, even if you are vigilant in your oral care.
Many times, the very first sign that you have a dental problem is tooth pain. If left untreated, the problem can worsen and cause many additional oral and overall health issues. When tooth decay advances to the inside of the tooth, many patients believe that extraction is the only option. However, at Parkway Dental Care in Kissimmee, we strive to salvage the structure of the natural tooth. This usually requires root canal treatment.
Root canal treatment involves the removal of the infected pulp. The tooth is then filled with a biocompatible material to support it from the inside and then sealed to keep bacteria out and prevent re-infection.
In this article, we'll explain what you need to know about root canal treatment.
Tooth pain is usually the first sign that there is a problem with your teeth. Some of the most common signs of toothache include:
Pain when biting or chewing can be an indication that you have a dental issue that needs to be addressed.
Tooth sensitivity, especially with extreme temperatures, is an indication that bacteria has reached past the enamel and into the dentin.
Infection can cause the cheeks and gums near the affected tooth to swell.
When infection is present, there is usually a pus pocket as well. Sometimes, the pus leaks out of the pocket and into the mouth. If the infection is severe, the area may also bleed.
Pain varies from one patient to another, from little to no pain to severe, throbbing, persistent pain. Any time you have oral pain, it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Some of the most common causes of toothache include:
If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, you may require root canal treatment to save the tooth. The best way to confirm is with a comprehensive dental exam and x-rays as well as other necessary imaging.
There are several stages of tooth decay. If caught early, minor treatment such as a dental filling will be enough to save the tooth. However, if left untreated, an infection can develop. If this happens, extensive treatment becomes necessary.
The first stage of tooth decay is known as demineralization. This is characterized by the appearance of white spots on the teeth, caused by bacteria eating away the minerals in the enamel, or outer layer of the teeth.
If left untreated, demineralization will continue, and the enamel will begin to break down even more. The white spots begin to turn brown. As the enamel weakens, cavities will begin to form, which can be treated with dental fillings.
Next, if left untreated, the decay will spread to the dentin, which is the next layer of your teeth. Dentin is softer than enamel, which means it's more susceptible to damage from acid. Once the decay has spread to the dentin, it will spread faster. This is when many patients begin to experience sensitivity, especially with hot or cold foods/beverages.
Next, decay spreads into the tooth pulp, which is the soft center of the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. As the pulp is damaged, it becomes irritated and starts swelling, which puts pressure on the nerves, causing pain.
If the decay continues to advance, an infection may develop due to bacteria. This may lead to the formation of an abscess on the gum near the affected tooth. An abscess is a pocket of pus that can cause severe pain, as well as swelling in the gums, face, jaw, or lymph nodes. If left untreated, an abscess can spread to other parts of the body and may be life-threatening.
The dental team at Parkway Dental Care will always strive to save the natural tooth when possible. This often involves root canal therapy. However, in some cases, the only treatment option is extraction.
Typically, as long as aftercare instructions are followed, recovery following root canal treatment takes about a week. Sometimes, patients experience minor discomfort, which can be managed with OTC pain relievers. If you have significant pain that lasts longer than a week, you may want to seek emergency dental services.
Following root canal treatment, you must keep the area clean. This can be done by brushing and flossing as usual, as well as using an antibacterial mouthwash. If you are waiting for a permanent crown, you should avoid chewing on that tooth until the crown is in place.
If you have a toothache, it's important to schedule an appointment with the dental professionals at Parkway Dental Care in Kissimmee or Avalon Commons Dental Care in Orlando. Both locations are equipped to provide dental services to patients of all ages, which means you can bring your entire family.
Toothache is often the first sign that an infection is present and, if left untreated, the infection could advance into the tooth pulp. This means that root canal treatment will be required to save the tooth.
Root canal treatment is an extensive process designed to salvage the structure of a natural tooth. Below are some of the questions that our patients have asked about this procedure. If yours is not addressed below, please let us know and we'll be happy to schedule an appointment.
The location of the tooth determines how long root canal treatment takes. On average, you can expect treatment to take a minimum of an hour and up to 3 hours. If a dental crown is being placed, you'll need to come back in a few weeks, unless a same-day crown is possible.
Patients are given local anesthesia prior to the procedure. This numbs the area, preventing them from feeling pain. In some cases, discomfort may be felt as the anesthesia wears off.
The best way to reduce your risk of dental issues in general is with proper oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing and flossing regularly as well as visiting the dentist every 6 months. Regular visits to the dentist can detect issues early before they advance to the point of requiring root canal treatment.
You should avoid eating immediately following root canal treatment. Once the anesthesia wears off, you can start with soft foods.
Smoking can have detrimental effects on your oral and overall health. Smoking after root canal treatment increases your chances of complications including failure. This may be a good time to quit the habit once and for all.
When a tooth is treated with root canal therapy, it should be protected with a dental filling or crown. If not, the tooth may last an average of 6.5 years. When protected, the tooth may last up to 13.5 years.
Patients are usually given local anesthesia for the procedure, which means most are fine to drive after root canal treatment. If you require sedation, you will need to bring someone with you that can drive you and then stay with you until the effects of the sedation wear off.