Root Canals in Richardson
At EPO Dental Specialists, we’re willing to bet that nearly everything you’ve heard about a root canal is either false or at least slightly exaggerated. The truth is a root canal is designed to erase the pain of an infected tooth, prevent the spread of infection and help you avoid the need for tooth extraction. Furthermore, a root canal in Richardson is not at all painful itself! Let’s take a look at root canal therapy and understand how this common procedure can be the key to pain relief and tooth preservation.
What is a Root Canal?
Whether you want to call it a root canal, root canal therapy or endodontic treatment, the procedure is the same. Our endodontist, Dr. Javier Ortiz, removes infection from inside your tooth, fills and seals the tooth and then creates a crown to protect what remains of your tooth.
How Does Infection Get Inside Your Tooth?
Millions of bacteria live in your mouth. At the center of each healthy tooth is the pulp chamber. Here, blood, lymph and nerve tissue transport nutrients to the tooth and remove waste through root canals that connect to your bloodstream.
The chamber and canals are normally protected by a tooth’s two other layers: enamel on the outside and dentin in the middle. However, if you have a large cavity, a loose filling, or a penetrating crack, then bacteria can access the pulp chamber. When this happens, infection may set in.
What are the Symptoms of Tooth Infection?
Unfortunately, the leading symptom of an infected tooth is often severe pain. As the infection grows in your tooth, the accompanying inflammation is usually very painful.
Other signs of an infected tooth are:
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, as well as the pressure of normal chewing or biting
- A sore on the gum tissue near the infected tooth
- Facial swelling
Sometimes, however, there aren’t any symptoms, which is why regular checkups are so important. Your dentist in Richardson will be able to see the infection on an x-ray if you’re not experiencing any recognizable symptoms. But more importantly, tooth infection can be avoided when cavities and others kinds of structural damage are treated in a timely manner.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
After the tooth and surrounding tissue are anesthetized, Dr. Ortiz accesses the pulp chamber and root canals in order to remove infection, debris and tissue. The area is then disinfected and filled with a biocompatible substance that expands to fill the chamber and root canals. This is needed to support the tooth and prevent recontamination. Lastly, the tooth is sealed and prepared for a porcelain crown that will protect your tooth.
Some discomfort may be felt after root canal therapy. For relief, most patients only need a few doses of an over-the-counter pain reliever. Depending on the severity of infection, Dr. Ortiz may prescribe an oral antibiotic.
Root Canal FAQs
Do you have a root canal in Richardson coming up soon? Maybe you’ve got some anxiety about it because of some scary rumors you’ve heard. Unfortunately, too many patients let worries influence their decision to put off the procedure which literally ends up costing them a tooth. At EPO Dental Specialists, we don’t want your nervousness to prevent you from regaining the healthy, natural smile you deserve. To put your mind at ease, our team has answered some frequently asked questions below. If you don’t see a question that’s been on your mind, be sure to contact our office!
Why Do I Need a Root Canal If My Tooth Doesn’t Hurt?
Intense tooth pain often leads people to their dentist’s office only to discover they need a root canal. However, just because you don’t feel any tooth pain doesn’t mean that everything is fine. It’s possible your tooth’s nerves have “died” due to trauma or infection without first feeling any discomfort, and so your tooth is no longer capable of feeling pain. Biannual dental exams are crucial to allow your dentist to check for any signs of trouble that you may not have noticed.
How Long Do Root Canals Take?
Although root canal therapy can usually be completed in one appointment, it may sometimes require two sessions. During your first visit, our dentist will place a temporary antibacterial medicine inside the tooth to relieve your pain. Then, you’ll return to the office at a later date to have the inside of your tooth cleaned out. In most cases, the procedure will take 30-90 minutes. Of course, the amount of time varies depending on the location of the tooth. Molars have more root canals that must be disinfected than front teeth, so root canal therapy for back teeth usually takes more time.
Are Root Canals Safe?
Faulty research conducted almost a century ago led to persistent rumors claiming root canals are unsafe and increase your risk of various medical conditions. However, the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) has thoroughly debunked this idea. Root canal therapy performed by a qualified dentist in Richardson is quite safe with a success rate of about 95 percent. As with any medical procedure, there is a very small chance of some bacteria remaining in the tooth after a root canal and causing reinfection. It’s important to play it safe, so be sure to let your dentist know if you experience intense swelling, pain, or fever in the days after your root canal.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Root Canal?
Even though the recovery time is different for everyone, most patients can return to their usual activities the day after their root canal. Keep in mind that strenuous exercise can divert blood from the site and delay the healing process. That said, if your job requires physical labor, it’s best to take the next 2-3 days off. Your mouth will also feel sore in the first few days after your procedure. Fortunately, you can manage your discomfort by taking over-the-counter pain medication and using a cold compress. While you heal, make sure you avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the root canal occurred.