Root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure, which treats the inside of a tooth for decay or infection. Within a tooth, there is a soft tissue, the pulp, that contains nerves and blood vessels. If the pulp becomes infected, or if the tooth decay becomes too advanced for a filling, root canal treatment will be advised by one of our dentists to avoid further damage to the tooth. If you have any of the symptoms below, book an appointment with San Francisco Dental Arts and we can tell you whether a root canal is necessary.
The most common symptom of needing root canal treatment is toothache. This can manifest itself in a number of ways. Sensitivity to hot and cold foods around the area of the subject tooth and spontaneous pain from the tooth are common symptoms.
Headaches and swelling around the tooth can also be indicative of the need for a root canal. Swelling of the jaw, throat and cheek are severe symptoms and it is advised you book an appointment with us immediately, or go to the ER as treatment may need to be urgent.
Other symptoms include pain from tooth decay, which may also be visible in discoloration of the tooth. A bump on the gum beneath the tooth and the draining of pus could indicate infected pulp in a tooth, another symptom of needing a root canal. Both these symptoms should lead to the immediate booking of a dentist appointment as, if left untreated, the infection can detrimentally affect the surrounding teeth.
Once the symptoms have been confirmed as needing a root canal, through an x-ray and the use of a cold stimulus on the affected tooth, the treatment will be scheduled to be completed in one or two doctor’s appointments, depending on the difficulty of the procedure. An appointment usually lasts an hour and a half.
Local anesthesia will be used to numb the area, and the dentist will place a rubber dam over the tooth, which prevents any fluids disrupting the treatment. Once this is completed, the dentist will begin to make an incision in the top of the tooth, in order to access the pulp, which they will then file and remove to rid the tooth of the infected area.
The dentist may use a chemical solution to flush the tooth of bacteria, and will shape the inside of the tooth, possibly using x-rays throughout to ensure it is done correctly. Gutta percha, a rubber-like material, will fill the inside of the tooth and a temporary filling will be placed on top. Then our dentist will arrange an appointment for a permanent crown to be placed at a later date, as they will need to make a custom crown to properly fit your mouth.
Minimizing pressure on the affected tooth until a permanent crown is placed is advised. Some pain may be felt over the following days due to inflammation of the tissue, which can be treated through over the counter pain medication.
Maintaining good oral health is important in preventing the need for future root canal treatment. Our dentists at San Francisco Dental Arts can inform you on how to keep good oral health if you are unsure. Feeling any of the symptoms above? Call us at 415-854-9396 and we can help.