DentalWorks Beaver Valley

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Understanding The Purpose and Process Of A Root Canal

Root Canal Therapy

When is the last time you used or heard the saying, "I'd rather get a root canal?" Considered something painful and unpleasant, root canals have gotten a bad rep over the years. Although a root canal may not be a treatment you should want, but modern techniques and advanced technology along with sedation options make root canal therapy much quicker and easier. If you're staying away from the dentist even though you have severe tooth pain or signs of an infection for fear of being told you will need a root canal, you might want to learn more about the modern root canal so you feel more comfortable contacting your dental practice in Monaca, PA to schedule an exam. Our team of dental professionals at DentalWorks - Beaver Valley understands you might be feeling uneasy about the possibility of root canal therapy. It is our main priority to make sure you are comfortable with the therapy process so we can address your problem and restore your oral health. If you feel you may need a root canal, read below to find answers to the top questions you may not know about this procedure.

The most common road to a root canal starts with an everyday dental cavity. Decay in the exterior portion of a tooth can be easily treated with a tooth-colored filling. However, if you aren't going to the dentist or you delayed treatment, the decay may spread from your enamel to the interior part of the tooth. If the soft pulp inside your tooth gets infected, you will need a root canal to remove the pulp. Although you may not be excited with the thought of getting a root canal, this very effective therapy can save the tooth. Without proper treatment, the infection could turn into a tooth abscess or spread to your gums, jawbone, and bloodstream, which may call for a tooth extraction and other therapies. In the end, a root canal is a lot easier and less expensive than having to have the tooth extracted or a much larger infection.

Once an infection moves into the pulp of your tooth, you may realize that your teeth are more temperature sensitive, so it's painful to drink hot tea or eat cold ice cream. Other symptoms include a chronic pain or ache in the affected tooth, swollen gum tissue around the tooth, and the tooth may turn a darker color. If you see any of these signs, then you must contact your dentist as soon as possible for an oral health exam. Your dentist will use digital x-rays and other diagnostic tools to ascertain if the pulp is infected in addition to the degree of your condition. When you have been diagnosed, your dentist will discuss your treatment plan, which could involve an extraction or root canal therapy.

After local anesthesia has been administered to numb the gums close to the affected tooth along with any other needed type of sedation, your dentist can begin your treatment. The decay will first be cleaned out of the enamel before a little hole is made to allow access to the inner chamber of the tooth. The infected pulp will be removed and then the chamber will be rinsed and disinfected before a special material is used to fill and seal the empty tooth. Generally, a dental crown will be placed over the treated tooth for strength and protection. At DentalWorks - Beaver Valley, we use custom-made crowns that will blend with the shape and color of your surrounding teeth so your smile looks seamless.

Immediately after your root canal therapy, your mouth will most likely feel a little sore and swollen, which means you need to plan to rest for the remainder of the day. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics or pain medication to help as you heal. It's vital that you get back to your oral hygiene routine right away to keep your mouth clean and avoid a reinfection, but you'll want to brush and floss carefully around the treated tooth for a few days. For food, you may want to stick to liquids (like protein shakes and smoothies) or soft foods (oatmeal, eggs, bananas, and avocados) at room temperature (not too hot, not too cold, but just right) for the first few days after your root canal. Avoid hard and sticky foods like taffy, gum, and ice cubes since these can hurt or pull off the crown covering the treated tooth. Continue visiting your dentist in Monaca, PA at least twice each year for professional cleanings and oral health exams so your dental team can assess the status of your tooth after a root canal and determine when the crown needs to be repaired or replaced.

As long as it is properly performed, a root canal should be successful at removing the infection and saving the tooth. If you have good oral care, you should be able to use the treated tooth for a long time. However, a crack in your tooth or other factors can lead to a reinfection of the tooth. If this happens, a second root canal (also known as an endodontic retreatment) might be needed. This is the reason it's important to follow all recovery instructions from your dentist after your root canal so your mouth heals properly. You should also continue to go to appointments twice a year so your dentist can check for reinfection and other oral health problems.

Without treatment, an infected tooth can become very painful. If you're caught between a throbbing toothache and the fear you have of going to the dentist (known as dentophobia) to get it treated, we have good news — you don't have to suffer pain or wrestle with dental anxiety using sedation dentistry. DentalWorks - Beaver Valley offers many different types and levels of sedation dentistry to make sure you remain comfortable during your root canal therapy. Nitrous oxide gas or oral-conscious medication may be blended with IV (intravenous) sedation based on your procedure and personal needs. And when your root canal is done, ask about getting sedation during your regular visits. Our team of dental professionals will work with Monaca, PA patients to help make it easier for them to come back for bi-annual professional cleanings and annual oral health exams so problems can be treated or prevented before they require a bigger procedure, like a root canal.

While you may not enjoy getting a root canal, it may save your oral health to have one. When you have any symptoms of an infected tooth, schedule an oral health exam and consultation with a dentist in Monaca, PA. If you have dental fears or anxiety, DentalWorks - Beaver Valley offers different types of sedation dentistry to keep you calm and relaxed during your examination and root canal therapy. We use state-of-the-art equipment and modern techniques when performing root canals to eliminate the infection, preserve your tooth, and keep your smile healthy and beautiful.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.