Posts for tag: Root Canal
Remembered fondly by fans as the wacky but loveable Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Alfonso Ribeiro is currently in his fifth year hosting America's Funniest Videos. It's the perfect gig for the 48-year-old actor, who loves to laugh and make others laugh as well. This is quite the opposite experience from one he had a few years ago that he remembers all too well: a severely decayed tooth.
After seeing his dentist for an intense toothache, Ribeiro learned he had advanced tooth decay and would need root canal treatment. Ribeiro wasn't thrilled by the news. Like many of us, he thought the procedure would be unpleasant. But he found afterward that not only was the root canal painless, his toothache had vanished.
More importantly, the root canal treatment saved his tooth, as it has for millions of others over the last century. If you're facing a situation similar to Alfonso Ribeiro's, here's a quick look at the procedure that could rescue your endangered tooth.
Getting ready. In preparation for root canal therapy, the tooth and surrounding gums are numbed, often first with a swab of local anesthesia to deaden the surface area in preparation for the injection of the main anesthesia below the surface. A dental dam is then placed to isolate the infected tooth from its neighbors to prevent cross-contamination.
Accessing the interior. To get to the infection, a small access hole is drilled. The location depends on the tooth: in larger back teeth, a hole is drilled through the biting surface, and in front teeth, a hole is drilled on the backside. This access allows us to insert special tools to accomplish the next steps in the procedure.
Cleaning, shaping and filling. Small tools are used to remove the diseased tissue from the interior tooth pulp and root canals. Then the empty spaces are disinfected. This, in effect, stops the infection. Next, the root canals inside the tooth are shaped to allow them to better accept a special filling called gutta percha. The access hole is then sealed to further protect the tooth from future infection, and a temporary crown is placed.
A new crown to boot. Within a couple weeks, we'll cap the tooth with a long-lasting lifelike crown (or a filling on certain teeth). This adds further protection for the tooth against infection, helps strengthen the tooth's structure, and restores the tooth's appearance.
Without this procedure, the chances of a tooth surviving this level of advanced decay are very slim. But undergoing a root canal, as Alfonso Ribeiro did, can give your tooth a real fighting chance.
If you would like more information about root canal treatments, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: How Long Will It Last?”
Many people consider a root canal treatment to be potentially an unpleasant experience. You might even feel a few butterflies fluttering in your stomach if we were to recommend one for you.
But there’s nothing actually to dread about this common and very effective treatment. The procedure doesn’t cause pain; in fact, it most likely relieves tooth pain. What’s more, it could save a tooth that would be otherwise lost.
The name comes from narrow passageways extending from the tip of the root to the innermost tooth pulp. The pulp contains nerves and other structures once vital to early tooth development. And although they’re not as important in a fully mature tooth, those nerves still function. In other words, they can still feel stimulation or pain.
That shouldn’t be a problem with a healthy tooth. But if tooth decay invades the inner pulp, those nerves now under attack will begin firing. You’ll know something’s wrong. As bad as it feels, though, the toothache isn’t your worst problem: if the decay isn’t stopped, it can spread through the root canals to the bone that could eventually lead to losing the tooth.
A root canal treatment removes the decayed pulp tissue and protects the tooth from re-infection. We first deaden the tooth and surrounding tissues with a local anesthesia and set up a rubber dam around the tooth to protect it from contamination from the surrounding environment. We then drill a small access hole through the enamel and dentin to reach the pulp chamber and root canals.
Using special instruments, we remove all the diseased tissue from the pulp and flush out the empty chamber and root canals with antibacterial solutions. After re-shaping the root canals, we fill them and the pulp chamber with gutta-percha, a rubber-like biocompatible material that conforms well to the root canal walls. We seal the gutta-percha with adhesive cement and then fill the access hole. Later, we’ll give the tooth further protection with a custom crown.
After the procedure, you may experience short-term minor discomfort usually manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen. The good news, though, is that the excruciating nerve pain from within the tooth will be gone—and your tooth will have a new lease on life.
If you would like more information on saving a problem tooth with root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”
Have you noticed a change in your teeth or gums recently? Even seemingly minor signs and symptoms can be clues that a root canal is in your future. Dr. James Bourne, your dentist in Homer, AK, shares a few common root canal signs.
Your tooth aches or throbs
Inflammation or infection in your tooth pulp can cause significant pain. Even if the pain doesn't seem that bad or comes or go, it's important to schedule an appointment with our Homer office. Although pain that only occurs intermittently may seem like a minor problem, your painful symptoms won't go away and will only worsen whether you need a root canal or have a cavity. If you do need a root canal and put off treatment, you may eventually develop a serious bacterial infection known as an abscess. Abscesses are dental emergencies that require root canal therapy and treatment with an antibiotic.
Have you noticed that your tooth hurts more if you press or chew on it or eat or drink hot, cold, or sugary foods and beverages? These symptoms may also occur if you need a root canal.
You see red when you look in your mouth
The gum surrounding your tooth may be red, inflamed, and swollen if an inflammation or infection lurks deep inside your tooth. If you have an abscess, you may also notice a little pus on the gum or a bump that resembles a pimple.
Your tooth has changed color
Changes in tooth color aren't uncommon if you need a root canal. You may notice that your tooth looks darker than other teeth due to the changes in the pulp.
Bacterial abscesses can make you feel terrible. If you have an abscess, you may develop severe pain, swollen lymph nodes, facial swelling and a fever.
How a root canal help
Root canals relieve your pain by removing your tooth pulp. After the pulp is removed, your tooth and root canals are thoroughly cleaned and shaped, and the pulp is replaced with a rubber-based filling. Before the procedure begins, you'll receive a topical anesthetic to ensure that you remain pain-free during your entire treatment. Although your tooth will be a little weaker after root canal therapy, it will continue to function normally. Fortunately, it's easy to strengthen and protect the tooth by adding a crown.
Are you concerned about a persistent toothache? Call Dr. Bourne, your dentist in Homer, AK, at (907) 235-8574 to schedule an appointment.