Root canals are tiny passageways that branch off from beneath the top of the tooth, coursing their way vertically downward, until they reach the tip of the root.
All teeth have between one and four root canals.
Many tooth problems involve infections that spread to the pulp, which is the inner chamber of the tooth containing blood vessels, nerves and other tissues. When the infection becomes worse, it can begin affecting the roots. A traumatic injury to a tooth can also compromise the pulp, leading to similar problems.
A diseased inner tooth brings a host of problems including pain and sensitivity as the first indications of a problem. However, inside a spreading infection can cause small pockets of pus to develop, which can lead to an abscess.
Root canal therapy is a remarkable treatment with a very high rate of success, and involves removing the diseased tissue, halting the spread of infection and restoring the healthy portion of the tooth. In fact, root canal therapy is designed to save a problem tooth; before the procedure was developed and gained acceptance, the only alternative for treating a diseased tooth was extraction.
Root canal therapy usually entails one to three visits. During the first visit, a small hole is drilled through the top of the tooth and into the inner chamber. Diseased tissue is removed, the inner chamber cleansed and disinfected, and the tiny canals reshaped. The cleansed chamber and canals are filled with an elastic material and medication designed to prevent infection. If necessary, the drilled hole is temporarily filled until a permanent seal is made with a crown.
Most patients who have root canal experience little or no discomfort or pain, and enjoy a restored tooth that can last almost as long as its healthy original.
Post Op for Root Canals
- Please do not consume caffeine the night before or the day of your appointment. The caffeine works against the anesthesia.
- Numbness to your lip, tongue and palate (roof of your mouth) may persist for several hours. Do not chew gum, eat or drink hot liquids or smoke until the anesthesia have worn off completely. This will prevent you from biting you from accidently biting or burning yourself.
- Do not chew ice, or other hard objects or continue deleterious habits, such as biting on Popsicle sticks, pens, finger nails, etc.
- If possible, chew on the opposite side of the treated area.
- It is normal to have discomfort or soreness around the tooth or teeth that have been treated. The injections sites and jaw joint may be sore, if this happens, apply moist heat to the affected area and take a non-aspirin containing pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) or Tylenol-as long as you do not have allergic or medical conditions that prevent using these pain relievers, also an antibiotic with a stronger pain medication may given
- Some Root Canals can take more than one visit. A temporary filling or crown is placed by the dentist to protect the tooth in between visits.
- All Root Canals must have a post, core and crown to protect the Root Canal. Delaying the final restoration (crown) may result in fracture and or possible loss of tooth.
- To further reduce pain and swelling, rinse 3 times a day warm salt water rinses are very helpful. Clean the area with extra care.
- Small pieces of filling materials maybe present in the mouth immediately after the dental appointment. Please do not be concerned if you find a small particle of material in the cheek or under the tongue after the appointment.
- If the bite feels “high” on the temporary restoration, please call the office to have it adjusted. Failure to do so can result in a fracture of the temporary restoration.