Root canal therapy is the preferred method of restoring a tooth that has become infected. Tooth infections occur when the hard, outer layers of enamel and dentin are damaged. This exposes the tooth’s inner pulp to oral bacteria, eventually resulting in an infection. Most commonly, this happens when an uncontrolled cavity eats through the entire outer structure of the tooth. However, a tooth that is cracked or damaged by oral trauma can also become infected.
If left untreated, an infected tooth will cause serious pain and discomfort. Root canal therapy is used to save your tooth structure. During this procedure, Dr. Cade or Dr. Carlson will clean and disinfect the interior of your tooth to remove bacteria and decayed material, then fill and cover it up to restore its structure.
The procedure is very straightforward and is totally pain-free. In fact, root canal therapy is only about as invasive as having a cavity filled. First, Dr. Cade or Dr. Carlson will clean your mouth, numb the treatment area, and isolate your infected tooth with a dental dam.
Then, the procedure will begin. Specialized tools will be used to remove any damaged and decayed enamel from your tooth and create a small opening. Next, Dr. Cade or Dr. Carlson will flush out of the inside of the tooth to remove bacteria.
Once this process has been completed, an inert material (called “gutta-percha”) is used to fill and support your tooth’s structure. Finally, a filling or a crown will be placed to restore and protect the exterior of the tooth.
You will experience no pain or discomfort during a root canal procedure. However, when the numbing starts to wear off, your tooth may start to feel a bit tender and sore. You can take medicine like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin if your tooth hurts.
Any pain and discomfort should stop within a few days. You will be able to eat a normal diet as soon as your procedure has been completed, but you should avoid chewing food with your restored tooth if it has a temporary filling or temporary crown.