The interior of the tooth is seldom thought about in comparison to the exterior. While many patients who come in for dental work are well aware of cosmetic blemishes that their teeth have, the inside components of the tooth only become a concern when a patient starts to experience pain, or a dentist points out an infection. Once an infection starts, swift and precise treatment is necessary to prevent further decay to the tooth.
A root canal is an internal endodontic treatment process that is performed to repair and save a tooth that has become infected or inflamed. Inside each tooth there is soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp holds blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues, and is key to the growth and development of a healthy tooth. When this part of the tooth becomes infected it can be incredibly painful, and if left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the jaw and mouth — and even enter the bloodstream, leading to life-threatening complications.
At Thornton Park Dental Arts our Orlando dentists are well versed in the root canal treatment process and can help restore a tooth back to its natural, healthy state.
Most patients will know they’re in need of root canal therapy, but in some cases, a dentist will be the first to spot common signs of an infection. Symptoms of an infected or inflamed root canal include:
In the event of an accident that has severely damaged a tooth, a root canal procedure can help save the tooth.
If chewing or biting has become difficult due to severe pain, then an endodontic issue is likely responsible.
Pain while drinking a hot or cold drink could be a sign that root canal therapy is needed.
When a tooth or the gums become discolored, it’s likely that an infection has begun to spread and immediate treatment is needed.
Pus-filled pimples or sores can develop on the gums when bacteria is present inside of a tooth.
One of the first things many patients notice is the pain associated with an infected tooth. The discomfort felt can be severe and can limit a patient’s ability to eat, drink, and even sleep. If an infection is left untreated, it can begin to spread to areas such as the brain and can lead to complications relating to sepsis, which can be life-threatening if untreated. In comparison, the pain felt during root canal treatment is rather mild, with most patients noting a slight discomfort during and after the procedure. With local anesthetic and proper care taken before, during, and after the treatment process, most patients can leave our Orlando dentist office with just moderate tenderness in the jaw and tooth and can return to normal habits in just a few days.
Root canal therapy is much more moderate than commonly displayed in pop culture. Each patient is different so the treatment process will vary in length for every individual, but most patients can expect to have their infected tooth completely repaired in just a few visits. To start the procedure, one of our dentists will apply a local anesthetic to the infected area and then make a small access hole through the top of the tooth. From there, the infected pulp will be removed, and the emptied areas will be treated and cleaned to eliminate bacteria. Once the tooth is free of bacteria, the tooth will then be filled with a putty-like substance and sealed with an adhesive cement, closing off the interior of the tooth. Depending on whether another treatment session is needed, a temporary filling will be placed on the tooth until a patient’s next visit. After returning to our Orlando dentistry practice, patients receive a permanent crown in order to restore the tooth to its full function and proper aesthetic.
Most patients will experience a bit of discomfort for a few days following each treatment procedure. As long as proper dental hygiene is practiced, most patients can enjoy a restored tooth that is as functional as their other teeth. Hard foods should be avoided for the first few days after a permanent crown is applied, as the tooth may still be highly sensitive, but after the pain subsides, a normal diet can be continued. If pain doesn’t decrease or complications return, patients should schedule another checkup appointment as soon as possible, as the infection may have returned or spread to other parts of the mouth.
Extensive dental procedures can be a daunting experience for many of our patients. At Thornton Park Dental Arts, we utilize modern practices to provide our patients with a comfortable and thorough dental experience. If one or more teeth have become sensitive or painful, then it may be time for a root canal treatment. To schedule an appointment, or to see if a root canal is needed, contact our dentist office in Orlando today!