Endodontic treatment, or as most people know it as “root canal therapy,” is a procedure used to preserve teeth with damaged or infected nerve tissue.
Root canals are essential for avoiding unnecessary tooth extractions or emergency flare-ups, such as a painful abscess or toothache. By repairing the inside of your tooth, our Boca Raton dentists can keep your smile healthy and limit the chance of infection spreading into surrounding teeth.
Reasons to Get a Root Canal
Some of the more common reasons for getting a root canal include situations like:
• A large cavity that extends into your dental nerve
• Severe pain or chronic toothaches
• Aggressive wear that has traumatized the nerve
• Previous trauma, such as athletic injury or car wreck (causing the nerve to die years later)
• Large fillings that are beginning to leak
• Cracked teeth
• Abscessed teeth
To determine the extent of your tooth damage, our Boca Raton dentist will need to take an X-ray that captures the full length of the root and the area around it. These “periapical” (“PA”) X-rays will allow us to screen for issues such as abscesses or fractures below the gumlines.
Since dying or abscessed teeth don’t necessarily cause pain, it can be difficult to pick up on the symptoms by yourself. In fact, it’s not uncommon for teeth to start to die and darken in color up to 10 years or later after a traumatic injury. You may have no idea what’s going on with the tooth until it’s too late to save it.
If you are in pain, our Boca Raton root canal dentist can take the best steps to alleviate your discomfort and help you avoid a dental extraction.
Keeping You Comfortable During a Root Canal
Our Boca Raton root canals help you get out pain as quickly as possible — not cause more discomfort! In fact, if we worry that it will be difficult to numb your tooth prior to the scheduled procedure because of swelling, we may want to put you on an antibiotic to minimize any inflammation. This step will help the local anesthetic work more efficiently to ensure you’re pain free.
At SEDA Dental in Boca Raton, we also offer comfortable nitrous oxide sedation (“laughing gas”) to help you relax. When you inhale this gentle sedative, it’s almost like having a glass or two of wine. You’ll feel more at ease, less sensitive to stimuli, and maybe even a little giggly. The best part is that nitrous oxide works quickly, within a matter of minutes, and is fully reversible once your procedure is completed.
The entire purpose of the root canal is to keep you out of pain and save your smile. With the right methods, medications, and state-of-the-art technology, your endodontic therapy can be much gentler than you expected!
Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment
The team at SEDA Dental Boca Raton always wants to be up front about your treatment recommendations. If there are alternative therapies available, you deserve to know about them. As each option is presented, you’ll be able to make a better and more informed choice about your smile’s care.
It’s no different with root canal treatment. If you’re wondering whether there’s an alternative to getting a root canal, the answer is both yes and no. Restoratively, no. There usually isn’t another option. But for pain relief, yes. You can always opt to have the tooth extracted instead of repaired. Unfortunately, an unnecessary tooth extraction can lead to further oral health needs, such as tooth replacement, TMJ problems, or orthodontic treatment.
After Endodontic Therapy
Once you’ve completed your root canal, there are a couple of other things our Boca Raton dentist needs you to keep in mind. One is that we’ll need to make a new crown to slip over your tooth. Since endodontic therapy removes the nerve of your tooth, the surrounding structure can tend to get dried out and brittle. Placing a “cap” over it will help to distribute biting forces evenly, so that you can eat like normal.
Even though your tooth has been treated, you’ll want to continue flossing it daily, brushing carefully along the gumlines, and treating it like you would any other tooth. It’s still physically possible for the area around the crown to develop decay if it isn’t cleaned well.
How Can You Tell if Your Tooth is Abscessed?
When a tooth starts to abscess, there’s an infection inside of the root that needs to drain. More often than not, this will create a fistula (small pimple) on the gums somewhere near the root. It can come and go, sometimes causing a foul or salty taste in your mouth.
Think you need a root canal in Boca Raton? Contact SEDA Dental today to experience gentle family dentistry that puts you first!