Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment (also called a root canal) is done when decay will likely damage or has already killed a tooth. During a root canal, Central Florida dentist Dr. Spencer removes the pulp from the center of a tooth and fills the pulp cavity. This can prevent the development of a painful infection in the pulp that may spread to other teeth; it can also treat an infection that has developed into an abscessed tooth. This procedure can relieve toothache, stop infection, and promote healing.
• First, Dr. Spencer will numb your gums by applying a jellylike substance. After your gums are numb, the dentist will inject a local anesthetic that will completely numb the teeth, gums, tongue, and skin in that area. Sometimes nitrous oxide gas will be used to reduce pain and help you relax.
• Dr. Spencer may separate the decayed tooth from the other teeth with a small sheet of rubber on a metal frame. This protective rubber sheet also helps stop liquid and tooth chips from entering your mouth and throat.
• Dr. Spencer will use a drill and other tools to remove the pulp from the tooth and will fill the inside part of the tooth below the gum line with medications, temporary filling materials, and a final root canal filling.
• After the root canal, a permanent filling or crown (cap) is often needed. If a crown is needed, Dr. Spencer removes the decay, and then makes an impression of the tooth. A technician uses the impression to make a crown that perfectly matches the drilled tooth.
The tooth may be fitted with a temporary crown until the permanent crown is made and cemented into place.
What To Expect After Surgery
After a root canal, your lips and gums may remain numb for a few hours until the anesthetic wears off. Afterwards, you may have throbbing pain, which you can treat with pain medicines, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or a stronger prescription painkiller. The pain usually lasts only a day or two.
Crowns that seal the top of the tooth and strengthen it may come loose over time and may need to be repaired, redone, or cemented on again.
Why It Is Done
A root canal is needed when tooth decay is likely to cause permanent damage to the pulp or has already done so.
How Well It Works
A root canal removes the pulp inside the tooth and replaces it with filling material. It can effectively treat or prevent an infection.
What To Think About
Because a root canal removes the pulp inside the tooth, the tooth becomes more fragile and may break more easily if it is not covered with a crown or cap.
A root canal needs to be done as soon as possible to avoid a severe infection, which can damage the bone surrounding the root of the tooth and infect other teeth.
If you have a severely decayed or infected tooth, you may not want to go through the expense and discomfort of a root canal and crown fitting. Instead, you may choose to have the tooth removed and the space left open or restored with a fixed or removable bridge.