Cause, Treatment, & Prevention Of Root Canals
Many people feel their hearts beat a little faster and notice their blood pressure rise when they learn the news. You may have felt it, too, if you have been told that you need a root canal.
Unfortunately, root canals may conjure images (possibly from movies) of a dentist taking pleasure inflicting pain upon a patient. We don’t know any dentists who are like this, and we can assure you that the dentists of Sunrise Dental in Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh do everything that we can to prevent our patients from feeling any pain.
That’s true for routine care, and it’s true for root canal treatments, too.
If your tooth hurts, then our staff is here to alleviate your pain as soon as we are able.
When You May Have A Root Canal Infection
Most of the time when we discuss a root canal, what we really mean is a root canal procedure. The root canal is actually a part of a tooth.
Our teeth are divided into crowns (the part we can see) and roots (the part under our gums). Inside our roots are openings (canals), which are where blood vessels and nerves enter our tooth.
A vast majority of the time, you won’t feel a thing inside our teeth. Your nerves are protected by the outer layers of our teeth, and even in the center of our teeth, the nerves are cushioned by soft pulp.
If you are feeling something, such as sensitivity to heat, cold, or sweets, then you may have damage to your tooth. This could be the result of an injury, gum disease, or tooth decay.
In any case, you have an opening that allows bacteria to infect the inside of your tooth, it can cause inflammation. This can put pressure on the nerves. This can cause your toothache.
It’s also a good sign that you need to get to the dentist.
What Happens During A Root Canal
When you come to any of our offices for a root canal procedure, the first step is making sure you are comfortable.
For some patients, this might mean some local anesthetic to numb the infected tooth and the surrounding gum tissue. For other patients, this may mean nitrous oxide or oral sedation. No matter what route you choose, we will not begin working on your tooth until we are confident that you won’t feel anything during the treatment.
The infection is on the inside of your tooth, so your dentist needs to be able to access the inside of your tooth to remove the infected parts. We create an opening in your tooth do we can remove the pulp, the nerves, and the blood vessels.
At this point, we clean the interior of the tooth and sanitize it. Then, we fill the tooth with a special rubbery material so it can hold its shape and to reduce the risk of reinfection.
The last step is sealing the tooth to add one more barrier for bacteria and to restore the shape and function of your tooth. This may involve a simple overlay or it could require a dental crown.
How To Avoid Root Canal Problems
The best way to avoid needing a root canal treatment is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes your day-to-day dental care and routine visits to the nearest Sunrise Dental office.
At home, you need to brush your teeth twice each day for two minutes each time. This is enough time to scrub all your teeth on all sides to remove as many bacteria and as much plaque as you can. Remember to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste.
And scrub your tongue when you are finished to remove a few more bacteria. (This also helps to freshen your breath.)
You also need to floss daily. Flossing is how you remove bacteria and plaque between your teeth and between your teeth and gums. Brushing can’t reach these places.
Last, but certainly not least, you need to make and keep your routine dental appointments. During your visits, we will remove the plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth. We will watch for signs of developing problems so they can be treated early, and sometimes we even find an infection before your tooth pain begins.
In other words, we may recommend a root canal procedure to prevent you from ever feeling the pain of a toothache, or we may recommend the treatment to end your pain.
We have dentist offices in Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh. If you have not yet scheduled your next appointment at our nearest office, please call or contact us online.