Save Your Natural Tooth—It’s the Best One You’ll Ever Have
When we are born, we have a set of 20 baby teeth hiding below the gum line. And once those baby teeth eventually fall out, we develop 32 new teeth: eight incisors, four canine teeth, eight premolars, and 12 molars. But if these adult teeth fall out, there isn’t a new tooth waiting in the wings to replace it. For this reason, we must prioritize our oral care. Our natural teeth are the best we’ll ever have, and because a root canal can help rid an infection, it often saves the foundation of your natural tooth, preserving your oral health in ways that would be harder to do if you had the tooth extracted.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a treatment that dentists use to repair and save an infected or badly damaged tooth. But when many patients hear they need a root canal, they often turn their heads away, concerned that it will be a long and painful procedure. Thankfully, today’s root canals are nothing like their counterparts of years ago. Getting this treatment done today is painless and quite effective. Though a root canal is still considered a serious procedure, dentists perform them every day. And when the Sheppard Family Dental Care team performs your root canal, you’ll be back to smiling, biting, and chewing with ease before you know it.
The Advantages of Root Canal Treatment
As we mentioned, root canals are a painless process these days. Though you will be given anesthesia to make you more comfortable throughout the treatment, root canals result in only minor soreness during the healing process. And after you heal, you can anticipate the following benefits:
- Efficient chewing.
- Normal biting force and sensation.
- Natural appearance—the crown used as part of your treatment is designed to look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth.
- Protection for other teeth from excessive wear or strain.
Signs That You may Need This Type of Treatment
If you need this type of treatment, it was most likely recommended after a visit to the dentist because you were experiencing pain in your mouth. Some common signs and symptoms that suggest you need a root canal:
- Pain while chewing.
- A hole, chip, or crack in your tooth.
- Tenderness or swelling of the gum area surrounding the tooth.
- An abscess or lesion on the gum area surrounding the tooth.
- Extreme sensitivity or pain in your tooth when exposed to either hot or cold.
- Swelling around your face or neck.
- Darkening or discoloration of the tooth.
Most of these symptoms are something you may experience at home. But there are instances where your dentist might discover a problem and determine that root canal treatment is necessary:
- X-rays taken at your dentist’s appointment show dark spots at the tip of the roots of your tooth.
- Pimple-like gum lesions caused by infected teeth.
- Darkened teeth can indicate there are issues in the nerve.
- Exposed nerves in your teeth.
Whatever reason your dentist has indicated you need this type of treatment for, you can rest assured that you’ll feel much better after your treatment.
Other Options Besides a Root Canal
If your dentist has detected a problem requiring a root canal, other options will also be considered. The most common treatment alternatives include:
- Direct pulp capping.
- Pulpotomy or pulpectomy.
- Endodontic retreatment or surgery.
- Tooth extraction followed by consideration of tooth replacement options, such as dental implants, bridges, or dentures.
If a root canal or one of the above procedures is not done, you risk losing your tooth and a part of your jawbone. You could also develop a dental abscess, life-threatening sepsis (due to the untreated infection), stroke, or heart attack. And the longer the condition remains untreated, the more painful it will get.
The Root Canal Procedure
Root canals are a routine procedure generally no more painful than a filling. This treatment is performed when your dentist removes the infected pulp and nerve in your tooth’s root. After the infection has been removed, they will clean and shape the inside of your root canal. Finally, they will fill and seal the space. In most cases, a dental crown will be placed over the previously infected tooth to restore it to its original function.
And we know, you are likely wondering about the next obvious question: how long does a root canal take? The simple answer is that it depends. This kind of therapy can take up to two appointments depending on the infection in your tooth. Each related appointment will usually take about 30 to 60 minutes. If you are having treatment on a larger tooth with multiple roots, it can take longer. And additional time is allotted for the placement of your new permanent crown.
Don’t delay a root canal—take the right steps to save your natural tooth.
If your dentist has recommended this type of treatment, now is the time to take action. Sheppard Family Dental Care offers superior dental care, comprehensive dentistry, and a caring team. Don’t let tooth pain risk your oral or overall health. Contact us to request an appointment for your root canal with your Lawton family dentistry team today.