Endodontics is a dental specialty dealing exclusively with tissues surrounding teeth and pulp within a tooth. A root canal is one of the primary services we offer at Advanced Endodontics. You may need a root canal if the nerve or blood supply in a tooth becomes infected. Nerves and blood make up the pulp present in every tooth, which can become infected because of an injury or tooth decay. A tooth with infected pulp sometimes appears darker than other teeth but not always. If you do notice a darkened tooth, it means that the tooth’s nerves are dying or have already died.
Other Indications You Could Need a Root Canal
Oral pain that persists even after attempting to treat it with over-the-counter medication or an ice pack is one of the most obvious signs of needing a root canal. Persistent pain could also have a different cause such as tooth decay requiring a filling, gum disease, or a broken filling. We encourage you never to ignore persistent tooth pain and to schedule an appointment with your regular dentist for diagnosis as soon as possible.
Infected tooth pulp can also produce these symptoms:
- The affected tooth is unusually sensitive when you eat food or drink beverages at hot or cold temperatures.
- Pain when chewing with the affected tooth
- Swollen gums
- Crack or chip in the tooth
- Tooth suddenly feels loose
Left untreated, the infected pulp in a tooth could eventually cause an abscess. When you have an abscessed tooth, pus collects around its tissues and causes swelling. This can be extremely painful, and the tooth will require extraction if not treated promptly.
What to Expect during Your Root Canal at Advanced Endodontics
The root canal procedure has an undeserved reputation as painful when this is not the case. Although having a root canal may have been uncomfortable in the past, today’s dental technology puts it on par with having a cavity filled. You receive anesthesia at the beginning of the root canal that blocks nerve sensations that can cause pain. The endodontist working with you will ensure that both your gums and tooth feel numb from the local anesthetic before proceeding with root canals.
Your endodontist places a rubber dam around the tooth receiving a root canal to prevent infected pulp from spreading to other areas in your mouth. For the next step, your endodontist removes the infected pulp, drains any abscesses that have developed, and cleans the inside of your tooth. Your endodontist then shapes the tooth to prepare it to receive a temporary crown. The crown protects the treated tooth from further infection. You will need to return for a second appointment to receive your permanent crown.
Your treated tooth should not appear any differently than your other teeth after receiving a root canal thanks to dental technology. In the past, it was common for a tooth that had received a root canal to become dark and discolored.
Caring for Your Treated Tooth and Preventing A Future Root Canal
You should continue to brush and floss at least twice a day as normal after you have a root canal. The treated tooth may feel sore and tender for a few days. Your endodontist will discuss pain relief methods for root canals with you before you leave our office. Most patients only need to take a non-prescription pain reliever to reduce their discomfort with root canals. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen tend to work the best.
One of the most important things you can do to prevent another tooth pulp infection is to limit foods with carbohydrates or a high sugar content. These types of foods stick to teeth easier than other types of food. If you do eat them, be sure to brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth as soon as possible. Here are some other steps you can take to improve oral health:
- Be sure to get the dental floss between each tooth when doing your daily flossing
- Visit your dentist for a check-up and professional cleaning every six months
- Use fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride rinse when you use mouthwash
No Referral Needed for Treatment
Advanced Endodontics accepts referrals from dentists for root canals but doesn’t require them. If you’re experiencing pain, tooth sensitivity, and other common signs of infected tooth pulp, contact us today. Our experts, at one of our five Florida locations will be able to help you live a better, pain free life!