Pain while chewing or new sensitivity when your teeth are exposed to hot or cold temperatures often indicates a dental infection. For teeth that have become infected, our doctors can perform safe, effective root canal therapy to remove bacteria and prevent the need for extraction. This procedure can be performed entirely at our Nashville, TN, office, where we use cutting-edge technology and offer different sedation options for your comfort and convenience.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy, often simply called a root canal, is the last resort for saving a badly damaged or decayed tooth. In most cases, the infection will have spread from the outer surfaces of the tooth to the inner pulp. At this point, that inner tissue or dental pulp, comprised of blood vessels and nerves, needs to be treated in order to save the tooth and stop the spread of infection or bacteria to the healthy surrounding teeth and gums.
In order to more effectively restore your oral health, we use rotary tools for faster, more precise treatment.
Symptoms you should watch for that may indicate you need a root canal include:
- Swelling in your gums, cheek, jaw, or throat
- Pain or sensitivity when chewing
- Heightened sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Tooth discoloration and darkening
- Blister or pimple on the gum
- Fever, chills, or signs of infection
Some people are hesitant to undergo root canal treatment because of the misconception that it is an unpleasant procedure. But with local anesthetic and sedation options, patients can remain comfortable during the whole process. A root canal does remove the nerve in a tooth, so that it no longer feels pain or temperature differences. However, this in no way negatively affects the function of the tooth while chewing or talking.
The Root Canal Procedure
Most root canals procedures only require two office visits. When you first visit your doctor, let him know all of your symptoms and how long you have been experiencing them. He will take x-rays to determine whether there are any signs of inflammation or infection. With a local anesthetic to numb the site, he will drill a tiny hole in your tooth to clean the inner chamber of infected tissue. Our doctors have extensive experience performing root canals, and use rotary tools for faster, more precise treatment.
After thoroughly cleansing the area, your doctor will seal the hole and make sure that bacteria cannot re-enter the tooth. The next step is to replace the dental pulp with a rubber material called gutta percha. Usually, your doctor will also cap the tooth with a customized dental crown for its protection and reinforcement.
Results and Aftercare
Root canal therapy generally has a high success rate and can save a tooth that is severely compromised. Patients can also benefit from:
- Improved overall oral health
- Decreased risk of infection and damage to healthy teeth and gums
- Prevent the need for more extensive restorations, such as implants or dental bridges
After your root canal procedure, you should be cautious about eating or chewing hard foods or candy, especially until you have a dental crown to cover the tooth. Though your tooth may be more sensitive for a few days after your procedure, over-the-counter pain medications and cold packs should decrease discomfort, and most people can go back to normal routines the day after treatment.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are suffering from dental pain, you may have an infected tooth that needs attention. To learn more about root canal therapy or to schedule an appointment, email our office.