Root Canals

Dr. Johnson at Heartfelt Family Dental Excellence wants to quickly identify any sources of tooth pain, and work to halt the discomfort and return you back to normal activities. A root canal is a commonly recommended treatment for tooth pain caused by inflammation due to infection. The procedure removes infected tissue and stops the pain. Root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure, meaning it deals with the internal structure of a tooth.

Understanding Tooth Anatomy

When a root canal is recommended, it helps to know the anatomy of a tooth. Inside a tooth, under the white enamel and the underlying dentin, which is soft and sensitive, lies a soft tissue called pulp. Made up of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue, the pulp allows you to feel sensations in the tooth, and the blood vessels support the tooth’s life. The pulp creates the hard tissues of your tooth during growth and development.

Tooth pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots, where the tooth is connected to tissues surrounding the roots. The pulp is vital during the growth and development stage of teeth. When a tooth is mature, it can then survive without the pulp, as the tooth continues to be nourished by the blood vessels, which carry nutrients and remove waste.

Possible Causes of Root Canal Pain

Root canal problems stem from infection and inflammation of the tooth's pulp tissue.

  • Deep Decay
  • Untreated Cavity
  • Repeated Dental Procedures
  • Chipped or Cracked Tooth

If inflammation and infection are left untreated, they can lead to an abscess, and the patient may lose the tooth and need a bridge or implant.

Trauma to a tooth, from a sports injury or automobile accident, for example, are major causes of pulp tissue damage. It’s essential to seek treatment immediately, in an attempt to save the tooth prevent future problems.

Signs and Symptoms

The main symptom most patients report is pain, while some never experience any signs and symptoms indicating the pulp of the tooth is injured. For those who have symptoms, indicators can cover a wide-range, and manifest all at once or over a long period of time.

These include:

  • Extended sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Tenderness to touch and chewing
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Swelling
  • Draining or tenderness in the lymph nodes in nearby bone and jaw tissues

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms call us for an appointment.

What Should I Expect?

If Dr. Johnson determines that you need a root canal procedure, be reassured, it is one of the most routine and effective treatments he performs.

The root canal process begins similarly to a filling, and with no more discomfort: an anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth and the surrounding area. Root canals are rumored to be painful, but this is not true. With local anesthetic, followed by a numbing agent placed directly in the root, patients remain comfortable during the procedure.

To begin, a small hole will be made in the surface of the affected tooth to gain access to the pulp chamber and root canals. The dead and dying pulp tissue is removed from inside the narrow passageways, with tiny instruments and a microscope. The chamber and empty canals are cleaned, disinfected, and filled. A rubber-like material called gutta-percha is used to fill the tooth and deter future infection. The repaired tooth is covered with a temporary crown for protection.

Following the root canal treatment, your tooth may be sensitive or tender for a few days. During this period, avoid biting hard food with the affected tooth. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen are usually effective in relieving discomfort, but prescription medications may also be prescribed if needed.

At your follow-up visit, a permanent crown will be placed. Permanent crowns are restorative coverings that fit over a repaired tooth. A crown will strengthen your tooth and allow it to function normally.

End the Pain and Sensitivity

Let us end your pain now. Call Dr. Johnson and our team at Heartfelt Family Dental Excellence to schedule your consultation appointment at 208-667-4551. We reserve appointment slots daily for patients in distress.