Dental Tips Blog

Jan
30

Root Canal Therapy – What Is It?

Posted in Root Canals

A “root canal” affects the inside of your tooth’s root, which contains a channel of nerves and blood supply.

When a cavity or fracture gets too deep, this can trigger an infection in the pulp of your tooth. The bacteria travel down the canal to escape the tooth, resulting in an abscess along the tip of the root.

At this point, your tooth can never be completely clean and strong on its own. Your dentist will recommend root canal therapy (RCT) to remove the infection and seal off the nerve chamber.

What to Expect From a Root Canal Procedure

Your dentist will first take an x-ray to determine the extent of the cavity. After careful treatment planning, the dentist will administer anesthesia and open up a small hole through the top of your tooth. He or she will use a file to reach as deep into the root to remove infected tissues.

The next step is cleaning and shaping the root canal with special tools and irrigators. Once that’s done, it’s time to pack the empty spaces with a filling material that helps guard against the roots developing another infection.

Finally, your tooth will need a crown to protect it, as the loss of the nerve can weaken its structure.

Does RCT Hurt?

You might be surprised to learn that having a root canal doesn’t hurt any more than getting a filling.

Sure, root canals come with a reputation for pain, but the untreated infection is one of the biggest reasons why. You now have access to multiple options and medication for making your dental procedures as comfortable as you please.

Do you suspect you need root canal therapy? Contact your dentist for more information and to schedule an evaluation.

Posted on behalf of:
Nautical Dental
16414 San Pedro Ave #200
San Antonio, TX 78232
(210) 499-0009

Dec
6

Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

Posted in Root Canals

If your tooth has suffered from recent trauma, a fracture, or damaged by a very large cavity…it probably needs a root canal.

Let’s talk a bit about your tooth anatomy to see why a root canal (endodontic treatment) might be necessary instead of a filling…

Your Tooth – There’s More Than Meets the Eye

The crown of the tooth is the part you can see above your gum tissue. The outer enamel layer protects the body of the tooth which is made of sensitive dentin. Inside the dentin is hollow – it’s a chamber filled with nerves and blood vessels that extend into the roots and jaw.

When the protective outer layers are damaged, the delicate inner chamber can become infected. This leads to an abscess, pain, and infection. If damage is too severe, your tooth may need to be extracted.

What a Root Canal Does

First, your dentist removes damaged tooth surfaces and the nerve inside of your tooth. The nerve chamber is sterilized and filled with a special material to seals out infection. Finally, the tooth receives a crown to reinforce it for everyday wear.

What You Need to Do

See your dentist immediately if you notice signs of nerve damage, such as:

  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Pain
  • Tenderness and swelling around a tooth
  • A discharge or funny taste
  • Change in color of the enamel

The tricky thing is that your tooth could be in grave danger and you might not feel any symptoms at all. Routine dental checkups are important to screen for problems while they’re easier to treat.

Start by visiting your dentist every six months. If he or she doesn’t provide root canals in their office, they will partner with an endodontist who does.

Posted on behalf of:
Cane Bay Family Dentistry
1724 State Rd #4D
Summerville, SC 29483
(843) 376-4157

Jan
27

3 Signs Your Tooth May Be Dying

Posted in Root Canals

Are you having pain in your tooth?  Maybe your tooth is starting to turn darker than the others?  It could be that you are experiencing a dying tooth.

What is a dying tooth?  Each tooth has its own, living nerve inside of it. When the nerve dies, has been traumatized, or has been removed in a root canal procedure, your tooth is considered non-vital or “dead.”  How do you know if your tooth is dying?

Here are 3 signs and symptoms:

1)      Pain– You may not always have tooth pain but in some cases you may.  The type of pain can vary from a mild, occasional pain to extremely painful.  Some people don’t experience pain at all!

2)      Darker tooth – The colors can vary from shades of grey, yellow or black.  This is a like a bruise in your tooth.  You will be able to tell by comparing the tooth to the ones next to it.

3)      A “pimple” on your gums – An abscessed tooth causes a “pimple” along your gums to release inflammation.  This can give you a bad taste or a foul odor in your mouth.

These are just a few symptoms of dying teeth. Seeing your dentist regularly can help you prevent problems like these before they progress to the point of irreversible damage.

Do you think your tooth is infected and possibly dying?  Call your dentist today to have your examined and tested to see if it is the case.  If your tooth is in fact dying, it will need to be treated by either a root canal or be extracted to prevent spread of infection.

Posted on behalf of:
Heritage Dental
23945 Franz Rd Suite A
Katy, TX 77493
(832) 709-2429

Dec
29

What You Need to Know Before Your First Root Canal

Posted in Root Canals

Are you getting a root canal for the first time? Although not everyone has had a root canal, it’s a fairly common procedure. What makes root canals important is that they allow your dentist to preserve your tooth for as long as possible – instead of having to pull it.

Don’t Wait to Have it Done

Putting your root canal off too long may mean it eventually is no longer an option. If too much damage occurs to the root, the tooth may have to be pulled instead.

Root Canals Don’t Hurt

Root canals don’t have to hurt. Although they may have a bad reputation, a root canal procedure is really similar to having a filling done. It just takes longer. Your dentist will thoroughly numb the area around your tooth, so that you don’t feel pain or discomfort throughout the process. If needed, additional numbing can also be added through the procedure.

Your dentist will also use a small prop to help you keep your mouth open. Common discomfort comes from straining the jaw muscles, so the small prop eliminates that concern.

Once your root canal is finished, your tooth will no longer experience sensations of pain. That’s because the nerve inside of the tooth isn’t there anymore. Instead, the nerve chamber has been sealed off with a filling material.

You’ll Need a Crown

A crown will protect your non-vital tooth so that it can function normally. This allows you to bite and chew without enamel chipping off. Otherwise the brittle tooth would start to break down.

Sit back, relax – your dentist has it covered! Your root canal is a common procedure that thousands of people have done each year.

Posted on behalf of:
Spanaway Family Dentistry
20709 Mountain Hwy E #101
Spanaway, WA 98387
(253) 948-0880

Nov
20

Signs and Symptoms of a Dying Tooth

Posted in Root Canals

One of the primary goals of routine dental care is to restore your natural tooth to a state of health and function before a cavity has the chance to permanently compromise it. Sometimes, decay can spread rapidly and grow too big for it to be fixed with a filling alone. How do you know if your tooth is beyond saving with a filling?

Signs and Symptoms of a Serious Problem

When decay spreads too far through the tooth’s hard outer layers, it can reach the sensitive core, which contains nerves and blood vessels. The infection spreads through the roots of the teeth and can result in an abscess. Signs and symptoms you may notice include:

  • Pain
  • Bad Odor or Taste
  • Swelling of Your Cheek or Jaw
  • Darkness or Discoloration of the Tooth
  • A Pus-filled Pimple on the Gums

Take Action to Save Your Tooth

The surest way you’ll be able to enjoy the use of your tooth once more is to have a root canal. By carefully examining the tooth and taking an x-ray of the area, your dentist will be able to assess the extent of the damage. Because the decay has advanced so far, the nerves within the tooth must be removed. The roots of the tooth are then sealed up and the tooth is reinforced with a crown. This procedure allows you to retain your natural tooth, but it removes all sensation from the tooth because the living material has been taken away.

If you are struggling with a “problem tooth” at this time, then please contact your dentist as soon as possible so that he or she can help relieve your tooth discomfort!

Posted on behalf of:
Touchstone Dentistry
2441 FM 646 W Suite A
Dickinson, TX 77539
(832) 769-5202

Sep
9

Do I Really Need that Root Canal?

Posted in Root Canals

So – your dentist told you that you needed a root canal. If your tooth doesn’t even hurt (or even if it does,) you might be wondering if that root canal is really necessary or not. Why can’t you just fill the tooth, put a crown on it, or wait until it actually seems to have something else going on with it? Or better yet – what if you just treat the infection with an antibiotic and let it go away on its own?

Unfortunately, infected tooth nerves don’t heal themselves. While some tooth infections do need pre-treatment with an antibiotic, it only eliminates the initial infection. The open area that allows bacteria to enter into the tooth will simply result in a new infection a few weeks later. However, initially clearing up the area of infection makes it easier for your dentist to perform the root canal procedure.

Unlike fillings or crowns that strengthen or restore the upper portion of your tooth, root canals address the inner nerve chamber. The treatment extends through the nerve canal to the tip of the root, sealing it off and preventing any additional re-infection. If your dentist were to simply cover the upper portion of the tooth, then any recurrent infections would drain through the root tip and create more abscesses. That infection could even spread to adjacent teeth, or in rare circumstances, to your brain.

Having a root canal performed doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Your dentist will ensure that the process goes as easily as possible. Newer types of technology make root canals faster and gentler than ever before. Call your dentist to find out how!

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336

May
30

Do I Need A Root Canal?

Posted in Root Canals

Root canals carry a dreaded reputation for pain and expense. Everyone cringes at merely hearing the word! How do you know if you really need one?

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure in which the nerve and pulp within a tooth are removed. This results in the tooth no longer having any sensation. The rest of the tooth stays, but the inner portion—from the pulp chamber, down through the root(s) of the tooth—is filled and sealed off to prevent the tooth from breaking down.

Not Always Painful

In actuality, despite its reputation, a root canal is intended to relieve or prevent pain, not cause it. Any dental work done decades ago was quite painful. Thanks to modern technology and advances in scientific understanding, root canals are done today with anesthetics which prevent the patient from feeling anything.

What It Means for You

When the pulp of the tooth has been damaged by trauma, killed by decay, or is in imminent danger of being affected by advancing decay, then a root canal becomes necessary treatment. Leaving a damaged pulp untreated can lead to a bacterial infection that will spread to other areas. This is why treating the tooth is so important.

After being hollowed out by the root canal, a tooth will need added strength from a crown. You will be able to continue using and cleaning your tooth, as before. A root canal will clean up or prevent an infection, and will save your natural tooth. Make sure you have regular check-ups with your dentist and don’t delay scheduling vital treatment!

Posted on behalf of:
Green Dental of Alexandria
1725 Duke St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 549-1725

May
2

What to Expect from a Root Canal

Posted in Root Canals

So…you finally decided to have that root canal done. You’ve never had one before and aren’t quite sure what to expect. After all, root canals seem to have a bad reputation – but is it really true? Here are some simple, straightforward facts about what to expect from your root canal treatment:

Root Canals Don’t Hurt

If you’ve heard that root canals are extremely painful, remember that they are just like any other dental procedure. Most discomfort comes from the injection of the local anesthesia, which keeps you comfortable throughout the root canal treatment. Some people may also experience some soreness from having their mouth opened for longer lengths of time. Your dentist can use a small prop to prevent muscle strain. Because a root canal actually removes the nerve from the tooth, it is physically impossible for the tooth to hurt after the procedure. 

You are Saving Your Tooth

A root canal is one of the last lines of defense that you have when saving your smile. Leaving the infection inside of your tooth will cause it to become more severe, spread, and ultimately result in complete loss of the tooth altogether. By removing this infection and sealing off the nerve chamber, you can preserve your tooth for several more years of use.

Treatment Length

The length of your appointment will depend on several things: the number of roots being treated, the tooth being worked on and anatomical abnormalities in the tooth. Since some teeth have more roots than others, or roots that are curved, some treatments last longer than others. Likewise, some root canal procedures are quicker to complete!

Having a root canal is a smart choice that can make a huge impact on the health of your smile. If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact your dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 398-9690

Apr
28

Saving a Tooth that is Dying

Posted in Root Canals

Teeth are living, vital parts of your smile. Because they each have their own nerve supply, it is possible to lose teeth due to a damaged or dying nerve. This often happens in teeth that have been hit accidentally, even if the injury occurred 20 or 30 years ago! Gradually the tooth becomes darker and darker, appearing grey or brown compared to the vital tooth next to it.

If the tooth isn’t treated when this sign of non-vitality begins to develop, the inner portion of the tooth may resorb, become infected, or even cause the tooth to fall out. Thankfully your dentist can prevent this from happening and allow you to retain the tooth for several more years. Cleaning out the damaged nerve tissues and filling the inner chamber of the tooth is the first step. You’ve heard of this procedure before – it’s a root canal! After the root canal is completed, a permanent restoration such as a porcelain crown is placed over the tooth. Crowns protect the brittle, non-vital tooth so that they do not begin fracturing from normal wear.

Your dentist can conduct simple tests on your tooth to determine whether or not it is still alive. Some of these tests include sensitivity to hot, cold, or diagnosis on an x-ray. The process of dying can take several years or it can happen quickly. It varies from person to person and you may not know until years down the road that the tooth will ever need to be treated.

If you’ve had a history of accidental tooth trauma, be sure your dentist knows. Even if it happened during childhood, careful monitoring can help you avoid other conditions later on.

Posted on behalf of:
Muccioli Dental
6300 Hospital Pkwy # 275
Johns Creek, GA 30097
(678) 389-9955 

Mar
8

Root Canals Don’t Have to Hurt…Really

Posted in Root Canals

Root canals have a bad reputation for being one of the most miserable dental procedures known to man. If you’ve told someone that you’re going to have a root canal done, chances are you’ve had another person tell you what a horrible experience they’ve had. Believe it or not, root canals don’t have to be that way. The truth is, root canals can be just like any other type of dental procedure when performed the right way.

Before your root canal is started, your dentist will numb the area of your mouth with local anesthetic. Just like a filling, anesthetic prevents you from being able to feel your dentist working on the tooth. Most likely you’ll also be given laughing gas (nitrous oxide) to help you relax even further. If you have an increased fear of dental treatment, it might even be possible for your dentist to offer some form of deeper sedation.

Keeping your mouth open for an extended period of time usually causes the greatest discomfort during root canal treatment. Some teeth have more roots than others, which makes the procedure last longer. Front teeth have one root and back teeth have either 2 or 3 roots. To minimize strain on your jaws, your dentist can offer you a rubber bite block to rest your teeth on, relaxing your jaw muscles. Especially complicated root canals may be performed by a specialist, which allows them to be completed even quicker.

You can expect your root canal to be just like any other type of dental procedure – be it a filling, crown, or even a bridge. Your dentist will focus on your comfort level first and foremost, before ever even starting your treatment! But one thing is for sure – putting your root canal off too long will hurt your smile (and your wallet!)

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

Most Popular

Tori, Exostosis, and Extra Bone Formation in the Mouth

A fairly common occurrence in the mouth is the existence of extra bone development along the outside or inside of the jawline near the teeth, or in the roof of…

Lingual Frenectomy versus Lingual Frenuloplasty

Lingual frenectomy and lingual frenuloplasty are both dental procedures used to correct a condition called ankyloglossia. Ankylogloassia, more commonly known as ‘tied tongue’, is an abnormality of the lingual frenulum….

Difference Between Conscious and Unconscious Sedation

Sedation dentistry is a wonderful option for many people who would not or cannot tolerate dentistry in a traditional dental setting.   Many people have a fear of visiting the dentist,…