What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is the final procedure we can employ to save your natural tooth in the face of severe infection. This procedure can relieve severe pain caused by a deep infection without having to remove your tooth.
How Decay Affects Your Teeth
When food or debris are left on or between your teeth, they can form plaque. Harmful bacteria are attracted to the plaque and eat through the layers of your tooth. That’s why brushing and flossing are important steps in oral hygiene, as they keep your mouth clear of plaque.
These bacteria create holes in your teeth, called cavities. Cavities can be small and easily treatable, but if they’re left alone they’ll spread until you experience severe tooth decay.
Eventually, the bacteria will make it to the innermost area of the tooth, referred to as the pulp chamber. This area houses the pulp of your tooth, consisting of sensitive materials that become inflamed and painful when infected.
When the pulp is infected, only root canal therapy can save your tooth.
Signs You May Need Root Canal Therapy
If you experience the following symptoms, it’s vital you seek treatment for your tooth. Root canal infections can spread to your face and body, putting you in more danger.
- A severe toothache
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Darkening of your tooth
- Swollen gums
The Root Canal Procedure
When you arrive at our office for your root canal procedure, Dr. Rangel will first conduct an examination of your tooth. He’ll take X-rays of your tooth to see the root structure in preparation for the procedure.
To ensure you don’t feel pain, you’ll also be given a local anesthetic that will numb the area. Though root canal therapy has a reputation for being painful, with advances in dentistry it’s usually no more uncomfortable than receiving a tooth filling.
The main procedure consists of removing the diseased pulp from your tooth. To do this, Dr. Rangel will drill a tiny hole through to the pulp chamber and scoop out the pulp in small amounts until it’s all out.
Your tooth will be sealed for its protection and is sometimes issued a dental crown for additional support and strength.
Though Dr. Rangel does everything he can to save your natural tooth, an extraction may be necessary in some cases. He only does this if your other options are exhausted and the infection is too severe, posing a risk to your health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Root canal therapy has a bad reputation — though it may have been painful in the past, nowadays it’s not painful for most people.
It’s normal to feel some pain in the days after your procedure, but it should subside soon. If your pain is severe and persistent, call our office at 432-333-6169 for assistance.
Sometimes when a tooth is treated, the root structure of the tooth makes it difficult for the infection to be cleared out completely. If even a small amount of infection remains, the pulp chamber can become infected again and require another more therapy.
A hot tooth is a severely infected tooth that is both very painful and unresponsive to the anesthetic.
The most obvious sign of a dead tooth is a change in color — dead teeth can turn yellow, brown, or black. You will likely also experience pain in the tooth or in your gums.
Headaches after root canal therapy are likely unrelated to the procedure. If you have a headache, over-the-counter pain medication can help until it subsides.
Root canal procedures take roughly 90 minutes to complete. Some people need more than one appointment to clear out their infection.
We Can Relieve Your Pain
If your tooth is in pain, we can help. It’s unlikely that your pain or infection will go away on its own, and waiting can put your health at risk.
To learn more or schedule your appointment, call our office at (432) 333-6169. You can also fill out our convenient online contact form and we’ll get right back to you.