Dental Tips Blog


How Do You Know You Need A Root Canal?

Posted in Root Canals

When you returned to work after the New Year, you started noticing pain in your teeth. It’s not all the time, and you want to ignore it, but you know that a small sensation in your mouth can be the beginnings of something big and awful: an abscess.

Before you jump the gun and immediately assume the worst, there are a few other things that could be wrong.

Pain When You Chew: 

Think about it. When you bite down, is the pain on contact with your other teeth, or does it come when you press down to chew or grind your food?  If the pain happens with contact to other teeth, the issue might be related to uneven wear on your biting surfaces. This is a simple fix, and typically takes less than 20 minutes to adjust.

Sensitive Teeth:

Over time, teeth can become sensitive to hot, cold, and sweet. This is particularly true of teeth with older metal fillings. But the sensitivity may not be an indicator of any decay in the tooth itself.  A set of dental x-rays will be able to rule out an abscess.  Toothpaste like Sensodyne or Colgate for Sensitive Teeth can help stop the sensitivity.

What if it IS and Abscess?

Even if your tooth does have the beginnings of an abscess, don’t wait it out.  It will not get better, but will only lead to more challenges later on.  The best thing to do is contact your dentist for an emergency appointment to plan the best course of treatment. With modern methods, root canals are nearly painless and more efficient than ever. You’ll be glad that you called!

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


Can You Get a Cavity After A Root Canal?

Posted in Root Canals

A root canal is when your dentist takes out the nerve of a tooth and replaces it with a filling material. Doing this can either relieve an infection or prevent one from happening.

After your root canal, your tooth shouldn’t have any more sensation. It’s protected by a strong crown, and will continue to work like any other tooth.

Your tooth with the root canal also has the same risk of getting a cavity, just like any other tooth. Why? Because bacteria can leak in at the margin where the crown meets the tooth. But does it really matter now that it no longer has a nerve?

Cavity After A Root Canal – Why Dangerous?

You know how cavities can get really sensitive? Because a tooth with a root canal is no longer alive, you probably won’t feel anything if that tooth gets a cavity.

If you don’t feel the decay and can’t see it because it’s under the crown, it can continue until your tooth is too damaged to even support a crown.

You got the root canal to preserve your natural tooth, but once decay takes over, you may have to get it pulled, anyway.

Protect Your Root Canal

Have you recently had a root canal? Congratulations on getting that out of the way!

But don’t forget that your work is far from over.

Make sure you brush and floss each tooth daily, even the ones with root canals. Visit your dentist regularly for x-rays and exams so that you can keep a close eye on how that root canal is holding up.

Posted on behalf of:
Dream Dentist
1646 W U.S. 50
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 726-2699


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


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


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


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


What Happens When I Put Off My Dental Care?

Posted in Root Canals

There are a lot of reasons why people have to put off their dental care. It may be a busy schedule, budget concerns, or just the feeling that there really isn’t anything actually wrong with their teeth. If you’re seeing a dentist that you trust, then you know that there’s a reason why they’ve recommended treatment. What can happen if you decide to put it off longer than they’ve recommended?

It can become more advanced

Unfortunately, damaged tooth structure cannot repair itself. Instead, it only gets bigger and more involved. If you need a crown today but put it off, you may need a root canal on it later. Small, easy to correct cavities may get pushed to the side, only allowing decay to continue eating its way deeper into the tooth. 

It will cost more to repair

Smaller, more affordable restorations only become more expensive to repair the larger the problem becomes. As mentioned previously, a cheaper filling could become a costlier root canal. By putting treatment off due to costs, you’re actually making it more expensive to restore your smile in the long run. 

It can damage your other teeth

A cavity or gum disease around one tooth can very easily spread to the next tooth, and so on. By correcting the problem as soon as possible, you’re saving the rest of your smile! 

It’s never a problem to get a second opinion if you don’t trust your dentist, but it is a problem when you don’t get treatment when you really need it. A quality dentist will do everything they can to help keep your treatment as minimally invasive, affordable, and preventive as possible.

Posted on behalf of Patrick O’Brien DMD, Carolina Comfort Dental



The Aches of an Abscess

Posted in Root Canals

There’s a small pimple-like blister on your gums, just next to where the root of your tooth would be. What is it? It may drain and come back, or just leave a sore that does not go away. Accompanying this fistula may cause severe tooth pain, aches in the area, or more severe swelling in that part of the mouth. This dear friends, is a dental abscess.

What causes an abscess? Abscesses are due to infection caused by tooth decay that has reached deep into the pulp tissue inside of the tooth. Once bacteria have contaminated the pulp, it also becomes infected. Unlike open tooth decay, a closed canal through the root of the tooth does not have an easy access to drain infection, which causes it to extend down and out the tip (apex) of the root, and then through the soft tissues until an abscess is formed on the gums.

To treat an abscess, pulp therapy is needed, such as a root canal (adults) or a pulpotomy (children.) This removes the infected nerve tissues, tooth decay, and eliminates the cause of infection, preventing it from returning. If the abscess is severe, the dentist may need to treat the patient with antibiotics to reduce the extent of infection before treatment is performed. Unfortunately, antibiotics do not remove tooth decay, so abscesses can easily return if the tooth is not treated professionally. This can lead to permanent tooth loss and spread of infection to other areas of the mouth. Thankfully, nerve and pulp therapies are an everyday occurrence in many dental practices, and are a proven method for eliminating abscesses and restoring non-vital teeth.

Posted on behalf of Patrick O’Brien DMD, Carolina Comfort Dental



What Happens During a Root Canal

Posted in Root Canals

A root canal is a very common dental procedure performed to save a badly decayed or infected tooth.  Root canal therapy removes the pulp and nerves in the tooth, which are damaged, infected or inflamed due to severe decay.  In most cases the procedure is done under a local anesthetic, however patients with anxiety over the procedure or the dentist may be candidates for sedation dentistry, where they will be semi-conscience during the procedure.  In most cases two or more dentist visits are required depending upon the presence of an infection.

On the day of the procedure, the dentist will numb the area or administer sedation, in order to make the procedure as comfortable and pain free as possible.  A hole is then drilled into the tooth and a series of root canal files are inserted into the hole to remove the pulp and other materials.  The dentist will start with small diameter files and gradually increase the size of the file until all of the material in the tooth is removed.  Next the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and dried; however if there is an infection in the tooth, the dentist may place medicine in the tooth.

The next step is to seal the top of the tooth using either a temporary or permanent filing.  In many cases, root canals are done in conjunction with crowns, which are used to protect the tooth from further damage.  If a crown is required, additional dentist visits may be required.  Once the root canal is completed and the tooth protected, there is no reason not to expect the tooth to be worry free for years to come!

Posted on behalf of Mockingbird Dental


So You Want to Wait on That Root Canal?

Posted in Root Canals

So your dentist told you that you needed a root canal, but you’ve decided that since your tooth isn’t hurting, you’re just going to put your treatment off. It may not seem like a very big deal right now, but this common misconception by dental patients is something that can cause them severe pain, costly treatment, and extensive dental visits later on.

Even though your tooth isn’t hurting you, a tooth in need of a root canal is already compromised and more susceptible to fractures, bacterial infections, and can easily reach the point where it is no longer clinically treatable. This is because weakened enamel does not withstand normal biting or grinding functions, and fractures easily. Cavities or fractures that continue to spread infections deeper into the nerve may affect other areas in the face, including the brain, causing hospitalization. Just because the tooth doesn’t hurt, doesn’t mean it’s ok to wait to fix it. The tooth may have nerve damage that prevents typical toothache symptoms from appearing until they are very severe. Painful toothaches often appear at the most inconvenient times, making it difficult for you to get access to professional dental care.

If you’re not sure whether the prescribed treatment is what you really need, it’s ok to get a second opinion. The best thing to do is get your treatment completed as quickly as possible, ensuring that a large portion of healthy enamel is preserved. Most endodontic therapy appointments take approximately one and a half hours, and are just as comfortable as having a filling done. After your root canal is completed, you’ll want to be sure to have a permanent crown placed over the treated tooth.

Posted on behalf of Randy Muccioli


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,…