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Root Canal Therapy
Inner Tooth Infections
A “root canal,” or pulpectomy, is a treatment for infections in the soft inner tissue of a tooth. Root canal infections can spread into the outer areas of the tooth, causing discoloration. If left untreated, they will affect the health of the jaw and other tissues surrounding the tooth.
Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold.
- Severe toothache pain.
- Sometimes no symptoms are present.
- Swellingand/or tenderness.
Reasons for root canal therapy
- Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
- Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
- Injury or trauma to the tooth.
Aren't Root Canals Painful?
Many people are concerned by the potential pain of a root canal procedure. You may be surprised to learn that modern day root canal therapy is usually painless and no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed.
After sufficiently numbing the area, Dr. Peterson creates an opening on the surface of the tooth. She then removes any decayed tissue or bacteria. An instrument called a root canal file is then used to remove the nerve fibers and clean out infected tissue from within the thin canals. We use magnifying equipment to aid in the procedure.
Next, the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and supplied with initial filling material, accompanied by medications to soothe the area.
A final filling, such as those used to fix cavities, is applied to the surface of the tooth. In many cases, a crown is placed instead of a filling to provide more structural support for the tooth.
Most often, both the diagnostic exam and the root canal procedure can be completed in two office visits.
Post Operative Instructions for Root Canals
Make sure that you avoid chewing if anesthesia has been used to numb your lips, gums and tongue. Injury can result in the hours after the procedure while the anesthetic wears off if you attempt to chew normally. Pain and discomfort are normal for several days after your root canal, particularly when you chew. Over the counter pain relievers, such as Advil or Tylenol, can help ease your discomfort. Rinsing three times a day with warm salt water will also help lessen pain and swelling. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water, then rinse, swish and spit until you have used the whole cup. Please take your antibiotics as prescribed for the duration indicated, even if no signs or symptoms of an infection exist. A few tips to protect your tooth and keep your temporary filling or crown in place: Avoid sticky foods, especially gum Avoid chewing on hard foods and substances, such as ice, fingernails and pens.