No one wants a root canal but at Austin Dental Center we are committed to preserving your natural teeth when at all possible. Root canals are a safe, effective way to do this, and despite its reputation, root canal treatment is not typically painful. We make every effort to ensure you are comfortable during and after this procedure so you can enjoy your healthy, natural smile throughout your life by preventing tooth loss when possible.
When a tooth is badly decayed or infected, a root canal is often necessary to save the tooth and to help you alleviate the pain. Many people fear root canal treatment, and our staff wants to help remove any fears you may have. Information is the best way to do that.
There are a variety of reasons why a root canal would be necessary. A tooth can become inflamed or infected because of decay, fractures, trauma or multiple dental procedures on a tooth and result in the need for a root canal. While the reasons vary, it is essential that the tooth be treated with a root canal in order to prevent further pain, infection or even tooth loss.
Typically, if you need a root canal, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Toothaches which occur spontaneously, often at night.
- You may feel pain when chewing or applying pressure to the affected tooth. This can be severe.
- Increased sensitivity to cold and heat.
- A pimple-like swelling on the gums.
- Swelling and/or pain in the surrounding gums and tissues.
If you experience any of these symptoms seek dental care as soon as you can.
How a Root Canal Works
We use a local anesthetic to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. During the procedure, we isolate the tooth with a rubber dam to keep it dry. Next we remove the pulp tissue with special instruments and disinfect the canal system. We will then place a temporary filling and wait to seal the tooth until the infection and pain is resolved. This may take several weeks.
During a root canal, we remove the nerve or “pulp” of the affected tooth and thoroughly clean the inside We are careful to remove all of the pulp (which is the soft, living tissue inside the tooth) because if left intact or improperly sealed, bacteria can cause infections and abscesses. It is then filled on a subsequent appointment with an inert filling material and sealed.
We are able to remove the nerve because it will not impair the function of the tooth. Its purpose is to nourish the tooth and to sense when things are wrong, so that particular tooth will lose that ability, but removing the nerve does not affect how the tooth functions or its ability to help you chew. Many of our patients say that having a root canal done is not much different than having a cavity filled, so this should alleviate some of your concern.
Root canals are very effective, and they have a success rate of ninety to ninety-five percent. This means that with proper dental hygiene and checkups, you will very likely be enjoying using this tooth for years to come.