Root canal treatment — also called endodontics (“endo” – inside, “dont” – tooth) — is a set of specialized procedures designed to treat problems of the soft pulp (nerve) tissue inside the tooth. While some mistakenly think of it as an unusually painful treatment, in most cases the procedure is no more uncomfortable than getting a filling. It's actually one of the most effective ways of relieving some kinds of tooth pain.
A root canal procedure becomes necessary when infection or inflammation develops in the pulp tissue of the tooth. Pulp tissue consists of blood vessels, connective tissue and nerve cells — which explains why a problem here may cause you to feel intense pain. In time, the pain may go away... at least temporarily. Without treatment, however, the infection won't. It can lead to a dental abscess, and may even contribute to systemic problems in other parts of the body.
Causes of Root Canal Problems:
Root canal problems stem from infection and inflammation of the tooth's pulp tissue. One potential cause of infection is deep tooth decay. Untreated dental cavities eventually allow bacteria to work their way down to the center of the tooth, where they may infect the pulp tissue. Another path by which bacteria may come into contact with pulp is via chipped or cracked teeth. Any opening in the protective enamel coating has the potential to allow bacteria access to the tooth's pulp.
Trauma to the tooth — the kind that might result from a sports injury or automobile accident, for example — is also a major cause of pulp tissue damage. In this case, it's essential to seek treatment immediately, both to try and save the tooth, and to prevent future problems.
Will I Feel Pain During Root Canal Therapy?
A root canal is one of the most routine and effective procedures in the arsenal of dental treatments and can often be accomplished in just one visit.
Many root canal procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report they are comfortable during the procedure.
What to Expect After Root Canal Therapy:
For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel tender, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen are generally effective in relieving discomfort, but prescription medications may also be given if needed. During this period, it may help to avoid biting hard on the affected tooth. All of these symptoms, however, should be temporary.
To further protect the tooth and resore it to full function, you will need to have a crown placed on it. You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored. The unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture, so you should schedule this appointment with Dr. Valerin as soon as possible. Most endodontically treated teeth once fully restored last as long as other natural teeth when practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing and regular checkups and cleanings.
When To Contact Our Office 309-693-2310
- If you feel the treated tooth touching another tooth first or before any other tooth in the mouth, please give us a call. This is a sign that your bite needs adjusted if left alone could lead to pain
- If you have severe pain/pressure or pain lasting longer than a few days
- Sensitivity to cold or hot