Root canal therapy is a notorious treatment, because in the past it was considered one of the most painful and invasive dental procedures. Fortunately, innovations across the field of dentistry mean that the technology, tools, and techniques used in many treatments, including root canal, have significantly improved. This has helped to make modern root canal therapy a straightforward and painless procedure that can save you from pain and tooth loss.
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontics, is the only successful way of treating infections that lie in the innermost layer of the tooth, in a part of the tooth known as the root canal system. Each of our teeth has at least one tooth root, and larger teeth like molars can have two, three, or more. The root canal system extends from the crown of the tooth right down to the base of the root, buried deep in the jaw.
Infections of the root canal usually occur when decay manages to penetrate beyond the outer layers of the tooth, and into the soft center, known as the dental pulp. It can also be caused when fillings leak or fail, or as a result of damage to the teeth due to a trauma. Unless root canal therapy is performed, the patient is at serious risk of requiring extraction or tooth loss. This is because the infection causes the root and subsequently the tooth to die.
Unfortunately, while antibiotics are successful in treating many different infections, they have been proven to be ineffective when it comes to dealing with infections of the root canal.
In the early days of a root canal infection you may have no symptoms whatsoever. However, as the infection progresses, you may begin to notice:
Pain and sensitivity when drinking or eating, which is more apparent if you are consuming something particularly hot, cold, or sweet
Pain when you bite or chew your food
Often the early symptoms can disappear as the tooth begins to die, and many people make the mistake of thinking that their tooth has healed. In fact, this means that the infection has spread more deeply into the root canal system, and eventually further symptoms occur that include:
Swelling in the gum around the affected tooth
Swelling in your jaw and face on the same side as the affected tooth
The tooth may darken in color as the bloody supply diminishes and it starts to die
Pus or other foul-smelling liquid may appear around the affected tooth
The sooner that you seek treatment, the more likely Dr. Boss is to be able to start root canal therapy and save your tooth.
Most root canal therapies require just two appointments with our experienced dentist, Dr. Boss. Local anesthetic is used to perform the procedures, so you should not be in any pain. However, if you are particularly worried or anxious, we may be able to offer you sedation to make the treatment more tolerable. Please speak to Dr. Boss about this during your consultation appointment.
During your first appointment, Dr. Boss will use a specialized tooth to remove the decay through your tooth and expose the root canals, which he will then clean out using special endodontic tools. Once he is satisfied that all of the infected material is removed, a temporary cavity filling will be placed on the tooth to prevent any further bacteria from entering it, giving it time to settle.
Your second appointment will be scheduled for around a week later. Dr. Boss will remove the temporary filling and examine your root canal to ensure that there are no bacteria remaining and the canals are completely clean. If this is the case, your tooth will be permanently sealed using a filling or crown, which should prevent the infection from returning. In some rare cases it may be necessary for Dr. Boss to clean the canals again and wait another week to check that the infection is definitely gone before sealing your tooth.
When performed by a qualified and highly experienced dentist such as Dr. Boss, root canal therapy has an extremely high success rate. If you think that you are suffering from an infection in one of your teeth, don’t wait to seek treatment. By seeking professional help immediately, you can help to retain a healthy, natural smile for longer. For further information about root canal infections or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Boss, call our office today at 361-245-5400.
Boss Dental Care
Address: 801 Everhart Rd, Corpus Christi, TX 78411