Root canal treatment is a procedure for saving a badly infected tooth from extraction. Dr. Michael Ayzin can help you with pain relief today. At Dentistry @ Its Finest, we prioritize and care for patients that are in pain. Root canal therapy in Costa Mesa, Orange County, CA is available today.
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Root canal treatment | What is a Root canal? | Reasons for Root canal | Root canal procedure | Crown placement | Root canal aftercare | Root canal – Dentistry @ Its Finest – Costa Mesa, Orange County, CA
What is a Root canal?
The visible portion of your natural tooth, called the crown, finds much of its protection from dental enamel below the gum line. It is also protected all the way down to the tip of the root by something called dentin, a naturally hard substance, only a slightly less hard than enamel itself. Inside this strong structure, along the length of the root, is a cavity or a canal. It is also called the pulp chamber because it is filled with dental pulp.
The pulp itself contains nerve tissue and other matter, as well as blood vessels that feed the tooth. If the pulp gets infected, bacteria and debris can cause excessive pressure to build up inside. The pressure then causes significant discomfort all the way to unbearable pain.
Quite often, this extreme pain is what brings many patients in for help. The treatment for this is called root canal treatment, also known as Root canal therapy. This Endodontic treatment removes the infected pulp, often saving the tooth from extraction. It nearly always results in immediate pain relief. The procedure is quite safe, even for those wearing braces or experiencing other dental concerns. The results are long lasting and it is well worth doing, especially if you are in a lot of pain or discomfort. Read more: What is Endodontics?
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How Does the Pulp Get Infected?
It begins when the enamel is attacked, which can happen because of the foods you eat. Food particles stick to your teeth, even a while afterwards, especially the inter dental spaces on the chewing surfaces of your molars. If you aren’t diligent about brushing and flossing, the bacteria can convert sugar and carb content in those food particles into acid. The acid in turn reduces the saliva’s natural protective effect on the enamel, which then begins the erosion. This can quickly lead to cavities and tooth decay. If those cavities aren’t filled, eventually the enamel will be worn away and infection will lead to the pulp. Besides infected pulp, it can also cause diseases in the oral cavity, jaws or salivary glands.
This same bacteria can also spread to the gums. When gums are loosened, they can expose and puncture the layer of dental below the gum. This provides another route of infection to the pulp. However the infection is introduced, the pulp must be removed to avoid repeats. If it isn’t removed, it could lead to an abscess, which will ultimately lead to having the tooth pulled.
Other causes of pulp infection include an untreated dental injury, chips, cracks, and sometimes even repeated restorations.
Why Not Extract?
Root canal therapy costs more than a tooth extraction, so why not just pull the tooth to begin with? The simple answer is that an artificial one will never function as well as your natural ones. The ability to eat, smile, and talk can be compromised if you lose a tooth without a natural replacement. The vacant tooth socket will trigger many issues, including jaw bone erosion around the gap, which leads to sagging or distorted facial features.
When is a Root Canal needed?
It can be used to treat many problems, such as inflamed or dying nerves, a dead nerve, a failed Root canal, even a cracked or dead tooth. In some cases, it can be used when removing nerves or teeth. In any case, the final decision whether to extract or have the Endodontic therapy will be yours and we’ll be glad to help once our specialist has examined you and discussed it with you.
It usually can be completed in one or two visits. In some cases, a permanent filling can be done on the very first visit, which will keep the recovery time to a minimum. Otherwise, a follow-up visit is needed to check the treatment, or sometimes to fill it permanently.
Early Symptoms that Could Require an Endondontic therapy
- Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold
What Your Dentist May Ask about the Symptoms
- Where the pain and swelling are
- How long it has been hurting
- When did the pain begin
- Type of pain – is it continuous or throbbing?
You may not even be aware that infection is developing in the pulp until it is too late. Keep an eye out for these hints that may be easier to spot:
- Signs of pus discharge
- Visible changes in soft tissue, and asymmetry
Abscessed Teeth – Root canal therapy (American Dental Association)
While these hints are helpful, they are not enough to make a definite diagnosis. We may need to do additional tests, such as an X-ray, percussion, thermal sensation, and/or electronic pulp testing.
Root canal procedure
- Imaging – We first size up the condition of the affected tooth, usually taking X-rays to determine the root configuration and the damage within. Rear teeth can have multiple roots, some or all could be infected. The Endodontist will need to know ahead of time which root is problematic and how it is oriented.
- Anesthesia – Local anesthesia will be used as RCT is considered surgery.
- Opening the Canal – A hole will be drilled through the enamel to expose the problem area. It will immediately release that pressure, and you’re not likely to feel that intense pain anymore, even after the local sedation wears off. The hole will be drilled in the crown if it is a molar, from the lingual side if the tooth is in front.
- Cleaning – The canal will then be evacuated when the nerve tissue and pulp matter are removed. It will be flushed and dried thoroughly.
- Sealing – The empty canal is then filled with gutta percha, a rubbery substance as well as a sealant so no empty space is left inside. It can’t be left open or there will be a risk of infection or abscess.
- Temporary Filling – The new hole will be covered with a temporary filling.
- Permanent Seal – At the follow up appointment, if you are no longer experiencing pain and if it looks well, the temporary filling will be replaced with a permanent one. In some cases a permanent restoration can be placed on the same appointment.
Why is Crown placement necessary after Surgery?
The treatment can leave the tooth vulnerable because it now has thinner walls. It is recommended that it be made stronger with the help of a dental crown. Complete healing will need to take place before a permanent crown is placed, but a temporary crown can be done immediately while impressions are sent to the lab to make the permanent one. This will require another visit to fit the crown once it’s made. Sometimes, when the tooth itself is extremely weak or broken, additional work might need to be done to prepare for the crown placement. Find out more about Root Canal Treatment Cost.
Root canal aftercare
- Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like Ibuprofen can be used for pain, if any.
- In case the patient is sensitive to NSAID or Aspirin, Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used.
- If pain persists, prescription medicines may be provided, but the possibility of remnant infection should be checked as the reason for pain.
Getting an infection after a successful root canal is minimal, but it does happen. If infection is suspected:
- Antibiotics may be used.
- The canal may be reopened, cleaned, and sealed again during re-treatment.
Depending on the strength of the sedation that was used during the surgery, it may be advisable to arrange a ride. You may feel well enough to drive safely home but this should be discussed with the surgeon first.
Root canal treatment in Costa Mesa, Orange County, CA – Dentistry @ Its Finest
Think you need an Emergency root canal? Call us right away instead of spending any more time in pain. We make every effort to see our patients in pain as soon as possible. Our Orange County office is conveniently located in Costa Mesa, California, near Huntington Beach and Irvine. Contact Us to make an appointment.