Preserve Your Natural Smile With Root Canal Therapy
While our teeth are strong and sturdy, they aren’t indestructible. Teeth can become damaged due to decay and trauma for several reasons, and when this happens, the living nerves and tissues inside of your teeth, called dental pulp, become susceptible to tooth infection.
Tooth infection requires immediate treatment, or it can spread to other parts of the mouth and eventually other areas of the body. Fortunately, if an infection is caught in time, our dentists can save your natural tooth using root canal therapy.
What Is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy involves removing damaged enamel and infected material from inside of a tooth. This area of your tooth, called the pulp chamber, is home to sensitive nerve endings that bring pain when infected. With root canal therapy, our Belvidere dentists will remove the infection and save your tooth from extraction.
Signs You May Need Root Canal Treatment
Oral infections occur when a cavity, or tooth decay, is left untreated for an extended period of time. Undergoing a root canal treatment is only an option if the infection is caught in time. That’s why it’s important to be on the lookout for signs that you may require root canal therapy. Some common signs include:
- Difficulty chewing
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Damage to your gums or the bone surrounding the tooth
- Discoloration or darkening of the tooth
- Severe tooth pain
- Loosening of the tooth
- Swollen gums or abscesses on the gums
- Dental trauma/decay such as holes, cracks, and chips in your teeth
Benefits of Root Canal Therapy
Tooth infection only gets worse the longer it’s left untreated. Root canal therapy can be extremely helpful for preserving your smile and your overall health, offering benefits such as:
- Enhanced oral health
- Protects your overall health
- Alleviation of pain, swelling, sensitivity, and throbbing
- Helps prevent infection from returning
- Saves teeth from extraction
- Prevents the need for more costly restorations and time consuming procedures
The Root Canal Therapy Process
You’ll undergo a consultation with one of our dentists, where they’ll thoroughly examine your mouth, review your medical history, and discuss your oral health goals. The information they gather during your consultation will allow them to determine if root canal therapy is the best treatment option for you. Your dentist can also offer sedation dentistry options if you experience dental anxiety and need help relaxing during your procedure. Once you and your dentist have decided to move forward with root canal therapy, we’ll schedule your next appointment.
At your root canal treatment appointment, we’ll ensure the tooth stays free of debris and saliva during the procedure by cleaning your mouth out and applying a rubber dam around the targeted tooth. We’ll also numb the area around the affected tooth using a local anesthetic to make sure you don’t experience any pain.
Once we’re sure the anesthetic has set in and any chosen sedatives are working, our dentists will create a small opening in your tooth to access the dental pulp. From there, they’ll completely remove the infected pulp and any damaged or decayed tooth material, and thoroughly disinfect the inside of the tooth to clear out any infection.
After your tooth is completely clean, your dentist will fill the root canals, the hollow spaces in your tooth that house the dental pulp as well as your tooth’s root system, with a special dental adhesive called gutta-percha. They’ll apply a filling over the gutta-percha to further seal off and reinforce the tooth, helping prevent reinfection and ensuring the tooth retains its structural integrity. Depending on your case, the damaged tooth can be restored with a porcelain crown.
Frequently Asked Questions
While root canal treatment has a reputation for being painful, our advanced techniques and technology will ensure a pain-free procedure. At Chapko & Shah Modern Dentistry, we prioritize your safety and comfort at every appointment. We’ll use a local anesthetic to numb the surgical area and make sure it’s working properly before the procedure begins. We also offer sedation dentistry options that can help you feel calm and relaxed during your procedure.
Untreated infection can not only damage a tooth beyond saving, but it can also spread to other parts of your mouth and body. Leaving your infection untreated can put your teeth and overall health at risk and require more costly procedures in the future. The sooner we catch an infection, the better it is for your smile and your health.
While the average time for root canal therapy is 30 minutes to an hour, this can vary based on several factors. Certain factors that can influence how long root canal therapy lasts include how many teeth require treatment, the extent of the infection, whether or not a crown is required, and your insurance coverage. We encourage you to call your provider beforehand and ask them if they can cover some or all of the costs of your procedure.
An infected tooth that isn’t hurting may mean that the nerves are completely destroyed. That’s why it’s important to stay aware of all the possible signs of tooth infection and attend regular, bi-annual dental exams at Chapko & Shah Modern Dentistry in Belvidere, IL. Regularly attending dental exams will increase our chances of diagnosing and effectively treating an infected tooth.