The dreaded root canal can be a patient’s biggest fear. The mere mention of the procedure causes fear. Root canals actually relieve pain and discomfort by removing the nerve tissue located in the center of the tooth. Once cleared, rubber-like material and medicated cement fills the empty root canal to prevent infection. Occasionally we use a metal pin, or post to restore the tooth. At later appointments, a cap or crown will restore the tooth.
In rare cases, pulp left in the root canal may cause your symptoms to continue or worsen. This requires an additional procedure called an apicoectomy. A small opening cut in the gums and surrounding bone removes any remaining pulp. Once completed, we encourage our patients to return quickly for permanent treatment. Temporary seals last a short time. Failing to return as directed could cause decay, infection, gum disease and premature loss of your tooth.
Benefits and Alternatives
Root canals allow you to keep your tooth for a longer period. This maintains your natural bite and healthy jaws. The common alternative is tooth extraction. This can require replacing the extracted tooth with a removable or permanent implant.
During and after treatment, you may experience bleeding, pain, swelling or discomfort for several days. We minimize these symptoms with pain medication. You may also experience an infection following treatment, however antibiotics can easily cure most infections seen. To keep you comfortable during treatment, we use local anesthetics. In rare instances, allergic reactions can occur.
Holding your mouth open during treatment could temporarily leave your jaw feeling stiff and sore. In some cases, you may experience difficulty opening your mouth wide for a few days after treatment. Teeth receiving root canals can be prone to cracking and breaking over several years.
Consequences of Not Performing Treatment
If you avoid your root canal treatment, discomfort could continue and you could face the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening infections. Sores in the tissue could form around your teeth, resulting in loss of the tooth. If you have any questions or fears, contact our office. We are here for you.