A root canal is a procedure that involves removing infected or damaged tissue inside a tooth. It is necessary when infection or inflammation develops in the soft tissue of a tooth’s root, called pulp. This pulp consists of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues and is located at the center of your tooth’s root.
Root canals are usually needed for a number of reasons, such as a deep cavity, injury or genetics. Infection in the root canal may cause pain or the tooth to decay, which could eventually lead to damage to the surrounding tooth and bone.
Toothaches and sensitivity to hot or cold liquids are the most common symptoms of root canal problems. Sometimes these symptoms will go away by themselves, but if they persist after treatment, you should see your dentist immediately.
Pulp pain (also known as pulpitis) is another symptom that needs to be diagnosed and treated right away, since this is the most serious problem associated with a root canal. If left untreated, pulpitis can turn into an abscess that can spread to the bone and other parts of your body. This can potentially result in a stroke, heart attack or even death.
To diagnose the problem, your Sarasota Dentist will perform an exam and take X-rays. X-rays help the doctor determine if the pulp of the tooth is diseased, how extensive the root canal is and how much damage has already been done.
During the root canal treatment, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the infected area and the surrounding gums. This may also be followed by oral sedation or IV sedation.
Once your mouth is numb, a small access hole will be made into the infected root to open up the pulp chamber. Your Sarasota Root Canal specialist will then remove the infected tissue and clean the root canals. They will then fill the empty canals with a special material, which is called gutta percha. A filling will be placed to seal the access hole and protect the tooth from future infection.
After the procedure, your Sarasota Root Canal Specialist will give you a post-operative kit to help you keep your new tooth clean and healthy. The kit contains a toothbrush, floss and an antimicrobial agent to help prevent bacteria from entering your mouth.
You should rinse your mouth several times a day with warm water to help the numbing medication work. You can also use over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to ease any discomfort.
The numbness that is experienced after a root canal should fade after a few hours. However, if you have severe pain after the procedure, you should call your Sarasota Root Canal specialist to make an appointment.
Your dentist will check the tooth again to make sure the numbness has worn off. If your Sarasota Root Canal Specialist notices that the numbness is still present, he or she may recommend that you come back at a later time for a follow-up visit.