You can develop cavities if you neglect proper dental care and over time these cavities can cause severe tooth decay. When left untreated, decay eventually penetrates the pulp and nerve of your tooth, causing pain and possible infection. Once the problem has advanced and threatens the integrity of the tooth, endodontic treatment is the only solution. Known as a root canal, this procedure can be performed by many dentists, but an endodontist has years of specialized training relating to the perfection of this treatment. Diamond Dental Associates LLC has some nice tips on this.
This article describes the signs that indicate you may need endodontic treatment and provides a look at the actual root canal procedure while dispelling some common myths.
Signs Of Decay
As common sense dictates, if you experience any discomfort or pain in your teeth, you should visit your dentist. Additional signs include sensitivity to cold or hot foods and drinks, especially when the sensitivity remains long after the cold or hot item is no longer present. This sensitivity is usually due to decay spreading to the pulp or nerve of a tooth.
Other common signs include darkening of the tooth, gum line swelling, and pain in the lymph nodes. However, you may still require endodontic treatment even if you don’t exhibit any of these symptoms. This is why regular dental appointments are crucial.
What Happens During A Root Canal
First, your endodontist will identify the severity of the decay in the affected tooth with an exam and x-rays. Next, he will isolate the affected tooth from saliva with a rubber dental dam to keep it dry. Then, he will drill a hole into the center of the tooth to provide access to the pulp chamber and nerve before cleaning out the debris and decay with a special file.
Upon detection of an infection, medication is applied to eradicate it. If there is no infection, the dentist uses a rubber and paste mixture called “gutta percha” to seal the tooth and then places a filling over it. Sometimes, an endodontist may place a crown in a root canal procedure to increase the level of protection and support.
One of the most common myths about this treatment is that it is painful. Actually, the technology and anesthetics used by a specialist make the treatment practically painless. Many people also believe that it requires numerous visits to a dentist’s office to complete this treatment. In reality, an experienced endodontist usually performs the treatment, including the exam, x-rays, procedure, and filling, in one visit.
Another common myth is that this treatment is only required if you have severe pain in your tooth. However, treatment is sometimes necessary even when a patient experiences no discomfort or pain in the tooth.