Root Canal Therapy
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is the process where the pulp of the tooth that is infected or damaged is removed and replaced with an artificial filler to save any abscessed tooth by removing the infection and sealing the canal. An abscessed or infected tooth can cause a serious toothache and problems arise when the pulp of a tooth becomes seriously inflamed. This can occur if decay has invaded the interior of the tooth, if a tooth has a very large filling, if it is cracked or chipped, or from trauma such as contact or even previous orthodontic work. Whatever the cause, the infected pulp needs to be fully removed and the tooth cleaned out, disinfected, and filled.
A root canal sounds scary but it can actually relieve your toothache and protect your other teeth and at Flax Dental in Atlanta GA it can usually be done in one visit. If everything goes according to plan you’ll never have pain in that tooth again.
How do I know if I need a Root Canal?
This is where much of the misperception with root canals comes from — an abscessed tooth will often be very painful because the nerves are exposed and inflamed.
Some of the signs you may need a root canal include:
- prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold
- tenderness to the touch or when chewing
- discoloration of the tooth
- swelling or tenderness in the gum tissue surrounding the tooth
- appearance of persistent pimples on the gums in the area
No one wants a root canal, but everyone wants the relief it brings. Root canals can stop the threat of infection and make life a bit more manageable.
Root Canal Procedure
After numbing the tooth and the surrounding tissue, Dr. Flax places a dental dam to keep the area dry. He then drills a small hole in the crown of the tooth to access the pulp. Through that hole, he utilizes very small files to remove the infected pulp, damaged nerve tissues, and other debris. The now-empty root canal and tooth cavity is then flushed with modern disinfectants to remove any remaining debris and disinfect the cavity.
Next, the empty pulp chamber and root canals are filled with a rubber-based material called gutta-percha and sealed with adhesive cement. The exterior hole in the crown is then filled with a standard filling. In some cases this is all that is needed. Usually, however, the tooth will require a crown to protect it and maintain its strength and function.
At this point, Dr. Flax will use the office’s CEREC® system to create your porcelain crown to strengthen the tooth to avoid breakage. This can be done the same day or at a later date.
Root Canal Recovery
You may have some soreness, but generally you’re free to use the tooth normally. You’ll notice that the extreme pain and sensitivity you had previously are now completely gone. As for maintenance, simple normal home hygiene is all that is needed.
After your root canal, the inflamed gums around your tooth may need a couple days to calm down, and your jaw may have a bit of soreness because it was open for a period of time. But this is not acute pain and is easily manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers.
How long does a Root Canal last?
Once Dr. Flax, Atlanta dentist, removes the infected pulp, fills the tooth, and places the crown your tooth should last as long as the other teeth in your mouth. People assume that the pulp is critical to the lifespan of the tooth, but the pulp is really only important during the growth and development of the tooth. Once the tooth is fully mature it can survive without the pulp, as the surrounding tissues provide nourishment. With good hygiene, a tooth that has had a root canal can last for the rest of the patient’s life.
Schedule a Root Canal Consultation
Dr. Flax, Atlanta dentist, has extensive expertise with endodontics, so he can perform root canals right in our office. That way you don’t need a separate appointment with an endodontist. Plus, with our CEREC® system, the entire root canal and crown procedure can usually be done in a single appointment!
When you’ve been told you need a root canal, remember Flax Dental and the dedication and training of Atlanta dentist, Dr. Flax. To learn more, call 404-255-9080 to schedule a consultation at our office in Atlanta.