A Complete Guide to Root Canal Treatment

A Complete Guide to Root Canal Treatment

Aug 01, 2021

If you have an inflamed, diseased, or decayed dental tissue, you’re likely to experience severe, persistent pain. Your dentist can perform root canal treatment to alleviate your pain and suffering. Root canal treatment, also referred to as endodontic therapy, involves removing the diseased pulp from the inside of the tooth.

Removing the dental pulp, which contains living tissue and nerves, renders the tooth “dead” as it cannot experience sensations like a normal, untreated tooth. However, the function of the tooth remains unaffected.

If you require root canal service, please contact Westwood Dental Group, a family-friendly dental office, to schedule a consultation.

Signs You Need Root Canal Therapy

Severe dental pain is usually an indicator that you require a root canal procedure. Other symptoms that may point to a need for root canal treatment include heightened sensitivity, tooth discoloration, and swollen gums.

Many patients who require root canal therapy do so after months or years of neglecting their dental health. For example, a small chip or crack in your tooth can allow bacteria to access the dental pulp, leading to decay and pain. That’s why it’s crucial to schedule regular dental exams with your dentist, so they can keep an eye on your dental health and offer timely interventions.

Are Root Canals Painful?

Many people associate root canals, and dental work in general, with severe pain. This inaccurate assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. Today, advancements in dental techniques and technologies have made it possible to undergo near painless procedures.

Root canal therapy is sometimes performed under anesthesia. Patients who experience dental anxiety are also welcome to discuss their sedation options with the dentist beforehand. With these options, you can look forward to a smooth, virtually painless experience during your root canal procedure.

Simple or Non-Surgical Root Canal

Westwood Dental Group offers both simple and surgical root canal treatments.

A simple root canal treatment is similar to a filling procedure, with the critical difference being that the root canal is more extensive and involves digging deeper into the tooth. To perform a simple or non-surgical root canal procedure, the dentist administers local anesthesia to numb the tooth. Next, the dentist drills the hole and removes the diseased pulp from the tooth using root canal files.

Then, the dentist cleans and disinfects the diseased tooth to get rid of debris, infection, and microbes. After ensuring all signs of infection have been eliminated, the dentist seals the tooth using gutta-percha material. If the tooth is extensively damaged, you may require a dental crown to rebuild the tooth’s function and appearance.

Surgical Root Canal

Surgical root canal treatments are usually performed as part of endodontic re-treatment. Endodontic re-treatment is the follow-up procedure performed after a failed root canal. An initial root canal may fail if:

  • The coronal seal breaks down, allowing bacteria to re-contaminate and re-infect the tooth. The coronal seal is made of gutta-percha material and temporary cement and is used to close the coronal opening of the treated tooth.
  • A dental crown chips or cracks, allowing re-entry of bacteria and subsequent infection.
  • Your tooth has elaborately curved canals that weren’t identified and thoroughly cleaned during the initial treatment. If a small amount of decay remains in these curved canals, it eventually spreads to the whole tooth and causes recurring pain.
  • Traumatic injury. A treated tooth can still experience additional trauma, making you a suitable candidate for endodontic re-treatment.

A root-end resection or apicoectomy is the most common form of endodontic surgery or surgical root canal. To perform an apicoectomy, the dentist accesses the tooth via an incision in the gum tissue. The dentist then cuts off the tip of the tooth root and removes any diseased bone. The dentist then cleans the tooth before sealing it and closing the gum incision.

Healing and Recovery

Root canal therapy can result in mild pain and discomfort, which usually resolves within a few days.

Here are some things to remember when healing and recovering from root canal therapy, be it surgical or non-surgical:

  • For the first few hours after endodontic treatment, avoid eating anything that requires chewing, and avoid hot beverages.
  • Use pain medication and any other medicines as instructed.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise after endodontic therapy. It’s best if you lay down and take the rest of the day off.
  • When you’re ready to start eating, stick to soft foods and chew on the untreated side.
  • Be gentle and careful when brushing your treated tooth.
  • In case of worsening pain or any other complications, get in touch with Westwood Dental Group immediately.

Schedule Your Appointment

Do you have a troubling tooth that’s causing you pain and sleepless nights? Get in touch with Westwood Dental Group to enjoy personalized root canal service. Our multi-specialty dental office is conveniently located in the heart of Westwood, MA, and serves patients of all ages.

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