If your only perception of root canals is that they are a difficult procedure, you would not be alone. But a lot has changed, and a modern root canal—performed by a skilled dentist in a comfortable environment, using updated technology and gentle sedation—is not much different than having a tooth filled.
At Platte Canyon Dental, we are on a mission to show our patients that root canals are not something to fear. It is actually a good idea to develop a healthy respect for the procedure because it is the only treatment available to save an infected tooth from extraction.
The Root Canal Myth
We'd first like to clear up the biggest misconception about root canals; they do not cause pain—they relieve it. It is the infection deep inside your tooth that is causing that throbbing toothache. Performing a root canal is the only method we have for getting rid of the painful infection and saving your tooth.
Why We Recommend a Root Canal
Your tooth consists of three layers, with enamel being the hardest, outermost layer. Underneath the enamel is a softer layer called dentin, and beneath the dentin is an area deep inside your tooth called the pulp chamber. Dental pulp contains tissue, nerves, and blood vessels that keep your tooth alive.
If your tooth gets cracked, you get a deep cavity, or suffer trauma to the tooth, bacteria can breach the pulp chamber and cause an infection that requires a root canal to treat. An untreated tooth infection or dental abscess can threaten your overall oral health, and without treatment, the tooth will need to be extracted. Left too long, an infected tooth or dental abscess can be deadly.
Signs That You Need a Root Canal
Several symptoms occur to warn you that your tooth is infected and needs immediate attention:
- Excruciating toothache
- Inflamed or swollen gums
- A raised bump on your gums
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Lingering sensitivity to hot and cold
- A terrible taste in your mouth
- Tooth darkening or discoloration
If you notice any of these symptoms, call Platte Canyon Dental, and we will arrange to see you as soon as possible—the same day if you are in pain.
The Root Canal Procedure
If Dr. Linn determines that you need a root canal, the first step is to use a powerful anesthetic to ensure that your tooth is completely numb, and you will not feel anything during the procedure. Need a little help relaxing? Ask us about nitrous oxide sedation
When we are sure you are numb, Dr. Linn will create a small hole in your tooth to access the pulp chamber. Using leading-edge technology called rotary endodontics, she efficiently and thoroughly removes the infected material from inside your tooth, then disinfects and fills the area. The final step is to place a temporary dental filling and allow the tooth to heal for about two weeks. In most cases, Dr. Linn will recommend placing a dental crown on the tooth to protect it.
You may notice some soreness or sensitivity in the day or two after your procedure, but taking an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen is usually all our patients need for relief.
Do You Need a Root Canal in Littleton, CO?
If you are in pain or notice any of the other symptoms above, call Platte Canyon Dental, so we can get you on our schedule as soon as possible. The sooner we treat your infected tooth with a root canal, the better the odds are that we can save it so it gives you years of use.