Root Canal in Lake City, FL
Root canals have the unfortunate stereotype in pop culture of being the most painful dental procedure. However, dentists in the US perform about 15 million root canals per year. That’s 41,000 per day—in fact, for every minute you spend reading this, 28 new root canal treatments begin. With so many people undergoing root canal treatments, can the myths be true?
In reality, modern root canal treatments are a relatively straightforward and pain-free procedure. Their goal is to preserve a damaged tooth and prevent more serious issues that may arise from an untreated infection. When people complain of root canal pain, it’s because the infection is causing discomfort. In truth, root canal therapy alleviates pain.
If you have intense pain or inflammation and think it might be a tooth infection, please schedule an appointment at Aspire Dental Group. Dr. Harvey and Dr. McNair can assess the situation, and if a root canal is required, perform the treatment with care and expertise.
Understanding Root Canal Treatment
A root canal treatment, more commonly just called a root canal, eliminates bacteria from the canals deep inside the tooth. The hope is to save the tooth from extraction and prevent further infection.
When the inside of a tooth is exposed to bacteria through trauma like a crack or cavity, it can become infected. If left untreated, this infection will spread to the pulp, the layer below the enamel and dentin. The pulp houses blood vessels and nerve endings in a chamber inside the tooth. This chamber has canals that run all the way to the tooth root, hence the name: root canal. When the infection has spread this far, we remove the pulp to try and preserve the tooth and restore its functionality.
After removing the pulp, the empty chamber is cleaned, sealed with a dental filling, and often capped with a dental crown, completing the procedure. Some patients experience mild discomfort for a few days after, but this can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen.
Who Needs a Root Canal?
You should consult an experienced dentist like Dr. Harvey or Dr. McNair to determine if you need a root canal. Some symptoms that might prompt a phone call to Aspire Dental Group are:
- Persistent tooth pain that may spread to the jaw
- Swollen gums
- Increased sensitivity to heat and cold
- Tooth discoloration, especially a dark, greyish color
- Cracked tooth
- Pus-filled abscesses that look like pimples on the gums
- Tender, swollen, or very red gums
- Loose teeth due to softening of the bone supporting the tooth
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may need a root canal. Keeping up with your regularly scheduled dental visits can help us determine if root canal therapy is needed. At your visit, we can evaluate your teeth and perform treatments to resolve your symptoms and prevent them from worsening.
Benefits of Root Canals
Most people who need root canals call our office because their pain has become severe. While a root canal will certainly relieve tooth pain, there are several additional benefits to the procedure as well.
In most cases, getting a root canal means you’re able to save the original tooth. This allows you to retain your original smile and avoid an extraction. Our goal is to save natural teeth whenever possible and to replace missing teeth quickly if extraction is needed. When a tooth is removed and not replaced, it allows the other teeth in the mouth to shift around. Shifting teeth results in a misaligned bite and an increased chance of infection.
Additionally, a root canal removes the infected pulp inside the tooth. This not only helps the tooth itself but keeps the teeth and gums in the surrounding areas healthy. When the infection is left untreated, it can create a painful pocket of pus called an abscess or spread to other areas of the mouth and body.
Finally, a root canal can save you from needing more complex or costly treatments down the line. The procedure is quick, usually requiring no more than an hour—although the duration will depend on the extent of the infection. Advancements in dental technology, instruments, and techniques also make root canal treatment straightforward. The simplicity and effectiveness of the procedure translate to fewer visits and lower costs, making it a practical treatment for many patients in need of dental care.
The Process of Getting a Root Canal
If you have any symptoms of root canal infection, the first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with us. We’ll examine your teeth and gums and take X-rays to evaluate the extent of the infection.
When it’s time for the procedure to begin, we’ll apply a local numbing agent to the affected tooth and surrounding gum to ensure your comfort throughout the process. Next, we’ll place a small rubber dam in your mouth to isolate the affected tooth and keep it dry. After isolating the tooth, we drill a small hole in the top of the tooth and remove the infected pulp.
We then clean and shape the pulp chamber and fill the empty canals with a dental material called gutta-percha. Finally, we will seal the tooth with a filling, completing the process. Dr. Harvey or Dr. McNair may also recommend a crown to protect the tooth from further damage.
Recovery and Aftercare
The recovery process from a root canal is straightforward and usually takes less than a week. Eating softer foods such as pasta and yogurt is a good idea for the first few days. If you’re experiencing soreness, you can mitigate pain with over-the-counter medication. As you continue to improve, you can return to a normal diet, but be careful chewing on the treated side.
Whether you received a crown or filling for protection, it’s important to properly care for your teeth afterward. Keep brushing and flossing like normal, paying special attention to removing food particles around the crown and affected tooth. We also recommend trying to curb habits like biting your nails, chewing on ice, or grinding your teeth, as these can damage your teeth in various ways. If you do grind your teeth, especially while you sleep, ask Dr. Harvey or Dr. McNair about a mouth guard for added protection.
A Pain-Free Smile Is Within Reach
If you need a root canal, chances are you’re already experiencing some tell-tale symptoms. Severe tooth pain, gum inflammation, tooth discoloration, and loose teeth are all signs to contact us today. Choosing to undergo a root canal procedure at Aspire Dental Group ensures you receive expert care from experienced professionals committed to your comfort and well-being. Drs. Harvey and McNair will evaluate your needs and treat your infection with compassionate care.
Don’t delay. If you are experiencing tooth pain or inflammation, schedule your visit to Aspire Dental Group and take the first step on the path to recovery.