Root Canals in Belgrade
A common endodontic treatment, root canals are performed for millions of adults in the United States that have infected pulp each year. If you experience pain while chewing or biting, a lingering sensitivity to hot or cold beverages, have a chipped or cracked tooth, or swollen, darkened gums, it’s crucial to visit your dentist for treatment. A root canal may prevent the need for a tooth extraction – contact our dentist and team to improve your oral health and achieve a confident smile!
Tooth Pulp: What is It?
Each tooth in your mouth has a series of one or more “canals” located in the root that contain both a blood supply and nerves. The tissue within the root is called the pulp, which houses connective tissue, living blood vessels, and large nerves. An important part of your teeth, the pulp have three main functions:
- Dentin production: Pulp is responsible for the production of dentin, which protects the enamel and assists with sensory impulses.
- Nourishment: The vessels within the pulp provide a steady flow of blood and assist with preventing the tooth from becoming brittle.
- Sensory function: Nerves in the root of your teeth are what cause you to feel pain from trauma, variations in temperature, and differing levels of pressure.
How Infection Forms
When the pulp is damaged and unable to heal itself, it breaks down, allowing bacteria to multiply within the tooth’s canal. The combination of damaged pulp and bacteria can cause an infection or abscess. The most commonly found types of pulp infection include:
- Reversible pulpitis: A mild inflammation of the pulp can cause symptoms such as pain while eating or drinking hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages. As the name suggests, the condition can be reversed.
- Irreversible pulpitis: With symptoms such as sudden, intense pain, those with severe pulp inflammation left untreated suffer from an extensive gum and connective tissue infection.
- Dental pulp calcification (dental pulp stones): When pulp tissue is hardened (or calcified), hypersensitivity and extreme pain are commonly experienced due to the compression of dental nerves.
- Dental pulp exposure: Any kind of damage to the tooth’s exterior, such as a crack or chip, can expose the usually protected pulp to bacteria and food particles. The most common symptom is pain, and without intervention, a mild case can quickly turn into an abscess.
Root Canal Procedure
In situations where the pulp is unable to heal itself, a root canal procedure is the next best step. The goal is to prevent the infection from spreading, as well as repair and save the tooth. The endodontic treatment is typically performed throughout a series of three dental visits. Our dentist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the canal, then seals the space.
The First Visit
During your first dental visit, an x-ray is taken to view the shape of the root canals and determine if any infection is present in the surrounding bone. Next, a local anesthetic is administered to numb the area. Then, a “dental dam” is placed, which isolates the affected tooth to keep it free of saliva. The next step is to create an opening in the crown of the tooth.
Small, specialized instruments are used to clean the root, shape the space, and remove the diseased pulp. Once the area is cleaned and shaped, our dentist will close the space with a temporary filling.
The Second Visit
When you return to the dentist for a second visit, we will determine the best restoration device to permanently cover the space created from the procedure. The purpose of doing so is to ensure the root is protected and restored to full function. In most cases, it will return to functioning like any other healthy tooth.
The Third Visit
If the tooth lacks the sufficient structure necessary for holding the restoration in place, a post may be needed. It is placed within the root to reinforce it and make it stronger. In cases where extra support is not needed, a follow-up appointment is still necessary to ensure that the tooth is properly healing.
After Root Canal Treatment
Many treatments performed by a root canal specialist relieve the pain and toothaches caused by inflammation or infection of the pulp. Thanks to the development of modern techniques and anesthetics, numerous patients feel comfortable during the procedure.
It’s common to experience sensitivity during the first few days after treatment, especially if you felt pain beforehand. Any discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter painkillers or prescription medications. However, if you experience severe pain or pressure that lasts longer than a few days, contact your dentist right away.
It’s advised not to chew or bite with the affected tooth following a root canal and before a permanent restoration is placed. The unrestored tooth is weakened and is thus susceptible to fracture, so be sure to practice good oral hygiene in the time between the procedure and follow-up appointment. In addition, try to eat soft foods that require little chewing, such as applesauce, eggs, yogurt, and pudding. Doing so allows your teeth to receive the rest they need to heal.
Contact Our Specialist in Endodontics Today
Dr. Timothy R. Lund may recommend a root canal therapy when the pulp, or nerves, of your teeth are infected. This procedure alleviates the inflammation and discomfort in your mouth, and it can often prevent the need for a tooth extraction. Give us a call at 406-380-3133 to learn more about root canal therapy in Belgrade, Montana, and to schedule your appointment with our dentist at River Rock Dental Group. We look forward to assisting you!