Our dentists may recommend a root canal if your tooth is infected or damaged. This treatment works to restore your oral health without extracting your teeth, allowing you to continue using your natural teeth and preventing the need for more extensive care. To make an appointment with Dr. Keith Warr or Dr. Margaret Hyams and learn more about root canal treatment in Salt Lake City, Utah, contact Warr Dental at 801-355-5385.
What Is Dental Pulp?
Dental pulp is the innermost layer of your tooth and is found underneath the layers of enamel and dentin. It contains the blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue that keep your teeth alive. This pulp is contained in a thin canal that extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the tooth root. While dental pulp is important while your teeth are growing and developing, it is no longer necessary to the survival of the tooth after growth ceases.
What Causes Tooth Infections?
Tooth infections occur when bacteria enters the dental pulp. This bacteria may enter in a number of ways, such as through injury or trauma or untreated tooth decay.
Symptoms of Infection
The most common sign of infection is tooth pain. Pain may be intermittent, present as a constant dull throbbing, or appear as a more severe ache felt by multiple teeth. However, in some cases, you may not experience any pain at all. This makes it crucial that you visit our dentists regularly for routine exams and X-rays. Regular dental exams help ensure that any problems are diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
Preparing for a Root Canal
You will not need to do anything to prepare for your root canal treatment. Root canals may be performed using local anesthesia or a deeper form of sedation. If you are receiving sedation, you may need to avoid eating prior to your procedure and have someone available to drive you to and from our office. Our dentists and team will provide you with detailed instructions prior to your appointment.
Root Canal Therapy (Endodontic Treatment)
Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic treatment or simply as a root canal, is designed to remove or change the infected or damaged tissue so that it is inert, allowing you to regain your oral function and health. When you receive a root canal, our dentists will remove the diseased dental pulp, clean the canal and seal the tooth to protect it and prevent any further damage. A crown will then be provided to cap the tooth and offer additional protection.
A treated tooth will no longer have nerves or a blood supply to nourish it. While you will experience pressure and hardness through remaining nerves in the area, the tooth itself will not cause any discomfort or feel any sensations going forward.
What To Expect From Your Results
After your root canal, you can expect to be free from discomfort and have a reduced risk for related oral health issues. Your treated tooth should become entirely unnoticeable after a few days.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
While root canals have a reputation for being painful, advances in treatment techniques and sedation make it possible for you to receive your treatment in comfort. Root canals are no more uncomfortable than receiving a dental filling, and our dentists and team will take care to ensure you are as comfortable as possible during your procedure.
You may experience some soreness or tenderness around the treatment area following your root canal, but this can be managed easily with over-the-counter medications and cold packs and should subside quickly.
Following your treatment, you may experience some swelling, tenderness and discomfort in the treated area. This can be addressed with over-the-counter painkillers and with pain management options such as cold packs as needed. You should recover and return to regular activities within one to two days.
Alternative Treatment Options
Endodontic treatment is recommended to save your teeth. It is a relatively simple procedure and can usually be completed in one to three visits. Often, the only alternative to a root canal is a tooth extraction. If an infected tooth must be removed, our dentists may recommend dental implants or another prosthetic option.
Various at-home remedies may help to alleviate pain and treat abscesses. However, these will not address the cause of your infection and cannot prevent its recurrence. At-home solutions such as saltwater rinses, essential oils, hydrogen peroxide rinses and oil pulling are temporary solutions and will not help the tooth to heal or protect it. We strongly recommend that you meet with our dentists to discuss a root canal and receive professional care so that you can enjoy optimal oral health.
Future Endodontic Retreatment
The vast majority of root canals are successful, and it is unlikely that you will need to have a previously treated tooth treated a second time. In some cases, however, a tooth may become reinfected, and in this case, our dentists can provide a root canal retreatment. This is the same procedure as your original root canal and involves removing infected tooth tissue and carefully sealing the tooth to prevent any additional problems from occurring.
We strongly recommend that you maintain good oral hygiene and continue to make and keep your regular dental appointments every six months. This will reduce your chances of reinfection and help ensure that any problems that do develop are diagnosed and treated promptly.
To learn more about root canal therapy or schedule your appointment with Dr. Warr or Dr. Hyams, we welcome you to contact us today at 801-355-5385.