Saving Your Tooth with Root Canal Treatment

Millions of root canal treatments are performed every year, and it is an effective and safe way to save a damaged tooth. Unlike its reputation over the years, modern dentistry allows this procedure to be practically painless and to provide relief from symptoms right away.

Anatomy
The first thing to understand is the anatomy of the tooth. Under the hard enamel on the outside of the tooth and the dentin below that, the interior of a tooth contains pulp. It houses the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues that all nourish the tooth. This allows it to grow properly and contributes to good oral health. After the tooth is fully developed, the tooth can get its nourishment from surrounding tissues and the pulp is not as necessary.

Necessity
The pulp can become infected, inflamed, or damaged by problems like decay, injury, repeated dental procedures, or a bad crown. If the damaged pulp is not treated, an abscess can develop or severe pain can result. Often, root canal treatment is the only way to save the tooth instead of having to extract it. Dentists advise that saving a tooth is almost always a better option, providing the most natural appearance, efficient function, and protection of oral health.

Procedure
Many patients report that root canal treatment is not much different for them than having a regular filling done. X-rays are taken and a local anesthetic is administered. Once numb, a dental dam is placed to protect the area during the procedure. Then the pulp is removed, the area is thoroughly cleaned, and then it is filled with special material for this purpose. The tooth is sealed for protection, and finally a crown is placed on top to protect the tooth. Most patients are able to return to normal activities immediately following treatment, and the procedure is permanent in most cases.

If you need a root canal dentist in Shreveport, contact our office today.

Signs You May Need Root Canal Treatment

Having tooth pain or problems can be one of the most uncomfortable experiences possible. It is hard to ignore because it makes your whole quality of life worse. When infection or decay reaches the inner parts of your tooth, it can cause many miserable symptoms. Often the key is getting root canal treatment to save your tooth and alleviate your symptoms. Here are some warning signs that indicate you might need this type of treatment.

Severe pain:
Although not always present, severe pain sometimes occurs with a tooth that needs root canal therapy. It may be sharp, intense pain or a dull ache that won’t subside. If you experience tooth pain that is severe or lasts for several days, see your dentist for an evaluation. If root canal treatment is necessary, any pain you may have will likely disappear after a successful procedure.

Sensitivity to hot or cold:
Discomfort when consuming hot or cold items is another sign of a problem. Mild sensitivity is usually not a big deal, but actual pain when your tooth hits these temperatures may mean the tooth is in an advanced stage of trouble.

Gum tenderness or inflammation:
Swelling or tenderness is often associated with infection, although it doesn’t always mean infection is present. Your dentist can determine the seriousness of the issues and whether root canal treatment is advised. Watch for tenderness, swelling, or even a lump in the affected area.

Darkened tooth:
Discoloration is a sign that the nerves of a tooth are damaged. The tooth may become gray, black or dark yellow. Tooth discoloration is also related to trauma, damaged fillings or severe decay, so visiting your dentist for a checkup is recommended.

Gum boils:
If lesions similar to a pimple form in the gum tissues, it is called a gum boil. It is usually an accumulation of pus, which can be linked to infection. The boil may be larger or smaller at certain times, depending on the activity of the infection in your mouth. It will feel tender and can cause swelling in the area, and you may notice a bad taste in your mouth.

If you have symptoms such as these, see your dentist to learn if root canal treatment is the solution.


If you live in the Shreveport area contact us today

Problems that Can Result from Postponing Root Canal Therapy

If root canal treatment has been recommended for you, you’re probably a little nervous. Maybe you’re a LOT nervous, but if you’re thinking about putting off your treatment, don’t. If you need root canal therapy, the underlying conditions that necessitate it will not go away left untreated. In fact, they’ll just get worse and worse over time, causing you more pain and discomfort and potentially leading to more serious complications.

If you don’t treat the infection in your tooth, it will spread. Beginning at your tooth’s roots, it will travel to your jawbone and eventually to your healthy teeth. Your entire jawbone can be put at risk. By treating your infection promptly with root canal therapy, your mouth can be free of infection and you will begin the process of healing.

Serious diseases like heart disease and diabetes have been directly linked to gum disease. During pregnancy, many problems including low birth weight and premature birth can occur as a direct result of infection and bacteria in the mouth. Several types of cancers have all been shown to have a link to poor overall oral health. The mouth is truly the pathway for everything that goes into the body, and if it’s providing a steady stream of bacteria and infection to be spread throughout your body, it’s extremely problematic.

Don’t worry about pain following your procedure. Root canal therapies are meant to relieve pain, not cause it. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel after your mouth is infection-free.

If you ignore your infected tooth for long enough, it may either fall out on its own or need to be extracted. Missing teeth come with a long list of oral issues, including difficulties with bite alignment and speech only corrected with some kind of dental restoration.

Don’t wait to have your root canal treatment. Don’t open yourself up to the myriad of consequences that could result from postponing treatment.


We treat patients from Shreveport and the surrounding area

What Alternatives Do I have to a Root Canal Treatment?

If you suspect you have an infected tooth, you might wonder if root canal treatment might be in your future. Do you have another option? Yes! One such alternative has been in existence for decades, but has only recently come to be more effective due to advancements in materials. This process is called pulp capping.

Pulp capping can help patients whose root infections have not yet reached the tooth’s nerve. Root infections begin when bacteria enters the pulp of the tooth through a crack or a large cavity. In a standard root canal procedure, the pulp and nerve of the tooth is hollowed out, cleaned and sealed, typically with a crown restoration.

With pulp capping, the nerve is preserved and the tooth is often repaired with a filling instead of a crown. Pulp capping allows the dentist to clean and protect the pulp, defending it from infection with medicine. With a successful pulp cap, the dentin of the tooth begins to regrow over the pulp cap. Advancements in the sealants used during these types of procedures has allowed for a greater percentage of success.

If you have a toothache, it’s important to see your dentist immediately. Pulp capping has a narrow window in which it can be performed. If your tooth is too infected, the pulp and nerve of your tooth may already be infected, and it’s too late for pulp capping to be effective.

A pulp cap is a far less invasive procedure than a root canal treatment or a tooth extraction, and there is less recovery time and tooth sensitivity following the treatment.

If you suspect you may have a tooth in trouble, talk to your dentist now. You might be able to save yourself a root canal treatment.


We treat patients from Shreveport and the surrounding area

The Value of Root Canal Therapy

A toothache can ruin your life, at least until you have treatment that relieves the pain. Headaches, mouth pain, or inability to chew can all accompany a tooth problem. It is not unusual for tooth pain to be linked to tooth decay, and when it becomes advanced you just can’t ignore it. This is when root canal therapy is valuable.

What is the procedure?:
Root canal treatment focuses on the pulp cavity, which is the inside of the tooth. When the pulp is infected or inflamed, it needs to be completely removed from the tooth in order for it to heal. It doesn’t matter if the damage to the pulp results from severe decay, tooth fracture, faulty crown, repeated dental procedures, or trauma. Even if the damage isn’t visible or causing unbearable pain, the bottom line is that the interior of the tooth must be cleaned out, disinfected and sealed to prevent future infection. A crown is typically placed on top of the tooth to protect it and complete the procedure.

Why is it necessary?:
If left untreated, an infected pulp can lead to intense pain or spread to other parts of the body. Root canal treatment is the best way to save the tooth and restore its function. Other benefits of the procedure are maintaining the tooth’s natural look, protecting other teeth from excessive wear, restoring normal chewing ability, and allowing normal sensation and biting force.

How long does it take?:
The procedure is more routine than you might think. An experienced dental professional can complete the process is one or two appointments, depending on your specific case. Once the procedure is complete, your repaired tooth should last as long as the rest of your teeth.


Our dental office is located in Shreveport

An Overview of Root Canal Treatment

Sometimes a tooth is so severely damaged that the only way to save it is with root canal treatment. There is no reason to turn and run if your dentist advises this procedure. The treatment has advanced to the point that it’s often compared to getting a filling. There are certain steps that will be performed as part of nearly every root canal procedure.

Preparation

X-rays may be taken as part of the diagnosis process or to determine the extent of damage. Once the dentist is ready to begin treatment, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the area throughout the procedure.

Pulp removal

A rubber dam will be placed around the tooth to separate the area from the rest of the mouth, and to keep it dry from saliva. The tooth will be opened, often using a small dental drill, to gain access to the pulp inside the tooth. The damaged pulp will be removed, and if there is an abscess it will be drained.

Cleaning and filling

After the pulp is eliminated, the dentist will thoroughly clean the area. The root canal will be widened if needed to create an adequate space for the filling. Depending on the extent of the damage, this step of the process can take up to several hours to complete or it can be spread over more than one visit. A temporary filling is sometimes used to seal the area between visits. If infection is present, the dentist may prescribe antibiotics.

Sealing

The temporary filling will be removed and the permanent filling placed to fully seal the tooth and prevent future infection. If the tooth has been filled at the root, the risk of breaking is higher so a crown may be recommended for protection.

Crown placement

Crowns help prevent further damage or fracturing. If needed, the tooth will be reduced somewhat to allow space for the crown. It will be held in place securely with dental cement.

Recovery

After root canal treatment, the tooth should survive for many years. The procedure may be repeated if re-infection occurs.


If you live in the Shreveport area contact us today