What is Root Canal Therapy?
When tooth decay goes untreated, it can eat into the deepest parts of the tooth. This area is called the root canal. Sensitive, important tissues called the pulp are stored here and can cause intense pain if they’re infected.
Root canal therapy involves taking these infected tissues out of the tooth in order to preserve the natural tooth. The pain caused by infection will stop and your tooth will be saved from extraction.
Effects of Tooth Decay
If your tooth decay goes untreated for too long, it can spread from the root canal. You could develop swelling in the face, neck, or head and lose bone around the tooth root. Infection also causes extreme pain and impacts daily life.
Root canal therapy can prevent the infection from spreading to this point and alleviate any pain or discomfort in the area that you currently experience.
Signs You May Need Root Canal Therapy
Symptoms of an infected root canal include:
If you notice any of these symptoms, you may need root canal therapy.
Root Canal Procedure
Dr. Bloomquist will first take an X-ray to get a better look at the shape of your root canals. They’ll check to see how far the infection has spread and whether root canal therapy is the best option for you.
If your procedure is approved, you’ll be given local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth. To help you relax more during your procedure, you may opt for sedation.
The dentist will then drill a small hole into the tooth and remove the infected pulp. The pulp will be replaced with a rubber compound to keep the tooth solid and prevent infection.
The exterior of the tooth will then be filled to make it secure. Some teeth may require additional support, though. To strengthen a tooth even more, Dr. Bloomquist may place a dental crown over the tooth.
Though we try our very best to preserve your natural tooth, sometimes a tooth is too severely infected to be saved. In this case, we’ll extract the tooth to prevent the spread of infection.
Among our services, we offer natural-looking dental implants to replace the tooth that’s extracted. Implants are designed to appear and function as normal teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Though root canal therapy has a reputation for being painful, most people feel a similar sensation to getting a tooth filling. The area around the tooth is numbed, so you shouldn’t feel very much.
If you’re anxious about pain during your procedure, we are also qualified in sedation dentistry so you can relax during your root canal therapy.
You’ll probably experience discomfort and sensitivity for the next few days after the procedure. This pain is usually not severe and can be relieved by over-the-counter pain medication.
If you still feel pain after a week, contact your dentist and the issue can be addressed.
Sometimes after a root canal, the tooth doesn’t heal as expected. In rare cases, the shape of your roots may be more difficult to completely clean and infection might not be detected until later.
If this happens, you may undergo retreatment. Your tooth will be reopened and cleaned out again, with extra care given to the places that may have been missed.
One of the most obvious signs of a dead tooth is discoloration. A dead tooth no longer receives blood supply and will start to turn yellow, light brown, gray, or black.
Other than color, you may feel pain from the dying nerve or from infection. If your tooth is infected, you may have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
On average, root canal procedures take one or two appointments lasting 90 minutes each. The number of appointments you need depends on how large the area of infection is.
Contact Us for Relief
If you think you may be in need of root canal therapy, don’t hesitate to contact our office. We’ll make sure your procedure is as comfortable as can be with our highly qualified staff and advanced technology. We’re convenient to patients from throughout the South Sound area at our Gig Harbor office.