Posts for tag: root canal
Root canal treatment can help save teeth that have become infected or inflamed. Our Billerica, MA, dentist, Dr. Kunio Chan of One Dental Care, discusses a few signs and symptoms that may occur if you need a root canal and explains what happens during the therapy.
Signs of infected or inflamed teeth
When an infection or inflammation develops in the soft pulp in the center of your tooth, you may notice that:
- Pressure causes pain. Pressing on the tooth or chewing on it can trigger pain.
- Pain never goes away. Whether you have constant or intermittent pain, pain may have become an unwelcome part of your life.
- Severe pain occurs suddenly. Sudden, severe pain may be a sign of an abscess, a bacterial infection in your pulp. Pain is often accompanied by a fever, swollen lymph nodes and facial swelling. In addition to a root canal, you'll also need antibiotics to ensure that the infection doesn't spread to other parts of your body.
- Temperature changes cause pain. Infected or inflamed teeth are often very sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Your morning cup of coffee or nightly bowl of ice cream can cause pain that lingers for about a half hour.
- Your gums are swollen. Swelling in the gums around your tooth may occur if you need a root canal. If a small pimple forms on the gum, you may have an abscess.
- Your tooth has darkened. A color change may occur if you experience inflammation or infection in your tooth pulp.
How do root canal treatments help?
Root canal therapy eliminates the source of your pain by removing the pulp. Luckily, your tooth can function normally even if the pulp has been removed. After you receive a local anesthetic, your tooth will be opened to reveal the pulp. In addition to removing the pulp, the inside of the tooth and the root canals will be cleaned and shaped with a tiny file. After the tooth drains, you'll receive a flexible, rubber-based filling. In most cases, you'll need to return to our Billerica office a few weeks after your root canal therapy to receive a crown that will help protect your tooth.
Are you concerned about pain or symptoms? Call our Billerica, MA, dentist, Dr. Chan of One Dental Care, at (978) 667-0691 to schedule an appointment.
One of the most effective techniques for saving decayed or injured teeth is the root canal treatment. Yet when many people hear they need it, they become nervous at the prospect.
Much of this stems from a common misunderstanding that undergoing a root canal is painful. It’s not — today’s anesthetics are quite effective in numbing pain during a procedure, and mild pain relievers like ibuprofen are usually sufficient to manage any discomfort afterwards.
In fact, a root canal treatment relieves pain caused by decay within a tooth. As decay progresses, it can enter the interior known as the pulp, which contains bundles of nerves and blood vessels. It attacks these nerves causing pain and infection. If the infection progresses through passageways known as root canals that are in the roots of the tooth, the pain can intensify. More important, the tooth is in danger of loss as the root and connective tissues that hold the tooth in place are injured from the spreading infection.
During a root canal treatment, we access the pulp by drilling a small access hole, usually in the biting surface or in the rear of a front tooth. Once we enter the pulp chamber we remove all the contaminated tissue. Once thoroughly cleansed, we fill the empty chamber and canals with a special filling (usually gutta percha) to prevent future infection. The access hole is then sealed and at a subsequent visit we strongly recommend placing a permanent crown to provide further protection from damage to the tooth.
Root canal treatments are quite common. All general dentists have been trained in endodontic treatment and can perform most types of procedures. More difficult cases (like a complex root canal network that may be hard to access) may require the services of an endodontist, a specialist in root canals. Endodontists use advanced techniques and specialized microscopic equipment to treat complicated situations.
It’s actually good news if we recommend you undergo a root canal treatment — it means your tooth has a good chance of survival once it’s disinfected and the decay is removed. But don’t delay: the sooner we can treat your tooth, the better your chances of a healthy outcome.
If you would like more information on root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Common Concerns about Root Canal Treatment.”
If a pain you’ve been feeling goes away, you might believe the problem that caused it is gone too. But that doesn’t mean it has, especially with a tooth. An excruciating toothache that suddenly stops should still be examined. Here’s why.
Tooth decay often works its way into a tooth’s innermost layer, the pulp, which contains bundles of nerves and other tissue. The infection attacks the nerves, which send pain signals to the brain. As the infection persists, though, the nerves will eventually die and will no longer be capable of sending pain signals — hence the “mysterious” end of your toothache.
Although the pain has stopped, the infection is very much active in the tooth and will continue to work its way through the root canals to the jaw. And ultimately, the pain will return as the infection invades the bone.
But there’s good news: a tooth in this condition can be saved with a procedure known as root canal therapy. We drill a small hole in the tooth to access the pulp, usually through the biting surface of back teeth or in the rear in front teeth. Once inside the pulp chamber, we clean out the infected and dead tissue. We then fill the empty pulp chamber and the root canals with a special filling and seal the access hole. In a few weeks the tooth receives a life-like crown to further protect it from re-infection and fracture years later.
A straightforward root canal treatment can be performed by a general dentist. If there are complications like a complex root canal network, however, then the skills and specialized equipment of an endodontist (a specialist in root canals) may be needed.
A root canal treatment resolves the real cause of a toothache that suddenly stopped, as well as puts an end to future pain and infection related to the tooth. More importantly, it can save your tooth and add many more years to its life.
If you would like more information on tooth pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “A Severe Toothache.”