Root Canal Therapy
Root canal treatment is a straightforward procedure to relieve dental pain and save your tooth. Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed, and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.
During root canal treatment, Dr. Lemons carefully removes the pulp inside the tooth, cleans, disinfects and shapes the root canals, and places a filling to seal the space.
A root canal is performed when the soft inner part of a tooth, known as the pulp, is injured or becomes inflamed or infected.
The crown of the tooth, the part you can see above your gums, can remain intact even if the pulp is dead. Removing injured or infected pulp is the best way to preserve the structure of the tooth.
Common causes of damage to the pulp include:
- deep decay due to an untreated cavity
- multiple dental procedures on the same tooth
- a chip or crack in the tooth
- an injury to the tooth (you might injure a tooth if you get hit in the mouth; the pulp can still be damaged even if the injury doesn’t crack the tooth)
The most common symptoms of the damaged pulp include pain in your tooth, swelling, and a sensation of heat in your gums. Dr. Lemons will examine the painful tooth and take X-rays to confirm the diagnosis and treat your tooth using root canal therapy if needed.
Signs and Symptoms that you may need a root canal
Several signs and symptoms may indicate the need for a root canal procedure:
Persistent pain: Severe and persistent toothache, especially when chewing or applying pressure to the tooth, can indicate infection or inflammation within the tooth's pulp.
Temperature sensitivity: Increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, even after the source of the temperature change is removed, may indicate nerve damage or infection.
Gum tenderness and swelling: Swelling or tenderness in the gums near the affected tooth may indicate infection spreading beyond the tooth itself.
Discoloration of the tooth: Darkening or discoloration of the tooth may occur as a result of nerve damage or decay inside the tooth.
Prolonged sensitivity to touch: Sensitivity to touch or pressure on the tooth, even without applying extreme force, can be a sign of pulp inflammation or infection.
Persistent bad taste or odor: A persistent bad taste or odor in the mouth, especially around the affected tooth, may indicate the presence of bacteria or infection.
Abscess formation: Formation of a pimple-like bump on the gums, which may discharge pus, can indicate an abscess, a sign of severe infection.
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, it's essential to see Dr. Lemons promptly for evaluation and treatment. Ignoring the need for a root canal can lead to worsening pain, spread of infection, and potential tooth loss. Dr. Lemons can assess your condition and determine the most appropriate course of action to restore your oral health.
How long does it take to recover from a root canal?
The recovery time from a root canal procedure can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the procedure, the individual's overall health, and your adherence to post-treatment care instructions. In general, most people can expect to recover fully within a few days to a week after the procedure.
Here's a general timeline of what to expect during the recovery process:
Immediate post-procedure period (first few hours): You may experience some numbness in the area where the root canal was performed due to the local anesthesia used during the procedure. It's normal to have some mild discomfort or tenderness in the treated tooth and surrounding gums as the anesthesia wears off.
First few days: Discomfort or mild pain in the treated tooth and surrounding area may persist for a few days following the procedure. Dr. Lemons may recommend over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help manage any discomfort. It's essential to avoid chewing on the treated tooth until it has fully healed to prevent further irritation or damage.
One week post-procedure: By the end of the first week, most people experience significant improvement in symptoms, with any residual discomfort or sensitivity gradually subsiding. It's crucial to continue following any post-treatment care instructions provided by Dr. Lemons, such as maintaining good oral hygiene practices and attending any follow-up appointments as scheduled.
Long-term: After the initial recovery period, the treated tooth should feel much better and function normally. However, it's essential to continue practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing regularly, to prevent future dental problems. Dr. Lemons may recommend a crown or other restoration to protect the tooth and restore its strength and function fully.
If you experience severe or worsening pain, swelling, or other unusual symptoms after a root canal procedure, it's essential to contact our office promptly for further evaluation and treatment. While complications are rare, timely intervention can help prevent any potential issues and ensure a successful recovery.