Eliminate Infection & Save Your Smile
If your teeth become infected and the infection spreads to the roots, extraction often becomes a necessity. This is a less than ideal situation, as missing teeth can lead to a host of oral health complications if left untreated, and many tooth loss solutions can be invasive and costly. Fortunately, at the office of Dr. Ramirez, an infection that’s caught in time can be treated with root canal therapy.
What Is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is the process of removing decayed enamel and infected tissue from a tooth’s pulp, then sealing the tooth off with fillings and a crown. Root canal therapy can save a tooth from extraction by stopping infection while also restoring the tooth’s function and appearance. To understand how root canal therapy works, it’s best to understand the basic structure of your teeth and how infection occurs.
What Causes Tooth Infection?
Your teeth are composed of three main layers:
- The enamel is the hard outermost layer that’s visible to the naked eye.
- The dentin is the thick inner layer beneath the enamel.
- The dental pulp is a collection of living tissues including roots and nerves housed in hollow spaces in your teeth called root canals.
When teeth become damaged due to decay or trauma, it’s possible for bacteria in your mouth to penetrate the tooth’s enamel, pass through the dentin, and reach the dental pulp. If this occurs, infection can set in.
Common Signs You May Need A Root Canal
While you’ll need a dental professional to accurately evaluate the state of your teeth, there are common signs you should look out for. You may need a root canal if you experience any of the following oral health issues:
- Difficulty chewing
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- Damage to the soft tissue and bone surrounding the tooth
- Discoloration or darkening of the tooth
- Severe tooth pain
- Loosening of the tooth
- Swollen gums or abscesses on the gums
Benefits of Root Canal Treatment
Root canal therapy can offer a wide variety of benefits, including:
- Saving teeth from extraction
- Eliminating the need for more costly restorations and invasive procedures
- Alleviating pain and throbbing caused by damage and infection
- Preventing the infection from spreading
- Preventing further tooth decay
The Root Canal Process
Before any procedures take place, you’ll undergo an initial consultation with Dr. Ramirez or Dr. Johnson. During your initial consultation, your dentist will determine if root canal therapy is the right treatment for you by providing a thorough oral exam, reviewing your medical history, and discussing your oral health goals and budget with you.
Once you’ve both decided that root canal therapy is the right option for you, we’ll schedule you for your next appointment.
To prepare your teeth for root canal therapy, we’ll rinse your mouth out to clear it of debris. We’ll also numb the area around your tooth with a local anesthetic so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. Finally, to keep saliva out of the tooth during the procedure, we’ll place a rubber dam around it.
Root Canal Therapy
To access the dental pulp, your dentist will gently drill a small hole in your tooth. Then, they’ll remove any decayed and infected material to stop the infection. Once the inside of your tooth is completely clean, your dentist will fill the root canals with a special dental material called gutta-percha, a rubber-like material that will help keep bacteria out in the future. Depending on the severity of your case, your dentist may also fill the tooth further using a composite filling, and cap the tooth with a same-day CEREC crown to further seal the tooth and to restore the tooth’s function and appearance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes the nerves of an infected tooth will become so damaged that you may not feel any pain. For this reason, if you suspect you have a tooth infection for any reason, you should call our San Luis Obispo office immediately to schedule an appointment by dialing (805) 549-8483.
To ensure your comfort during your procedure, we’ll apply a local anesthetic so you won’t feel any pain. In cases where the nerves are gone, anesthetic may not be required. Post-procedure, some mild irritation, swelling, and pain is common, but should be easily manageable with cold compresses and over-the-counter pain medication.
We strongly suggest that you wait until after your anesthetic has worn off before eating again to ensure that you don’t bite down too hard and accidentally damage your mouth, your crown, or your filling.
Root Canals Help Save Smiles-Schedule an Appointment Today!
Thanks to advancements in dental technology, our dentists can help save your smile and restore your oral health using root canal therapy. Prevent the spread of infection and protect your natural smile, contact our office in San Luis Obispo by dialing (805) 549-8483. You can also request an appointment by clicking the button below and a friendly team member will get back to you shortly.