A root canal is a natural cavity within the center of your tooth that has a soft pulp chamber that houses your tooth’s nerve.
Our Grand Rapids specialty dentists perform root canal therapy to save teeth that are badly decayed. We use endodontic procedures to remove the pulp and nerves before sealing the cleaned area.
Without treatment, infection and abscesses can form on the tissues surrounding your teeth. If you have an infected tooth, it can be very painful. You should seek immediate medical attention from one of our experienced root canal dentists at Lake Michigan Dental.
Who Needs a Root Canal?
You may need a root canal if you’ve noticed one of the following symptoms:
- The tooth color darkens
- Severe toothache pain when chewing
- Gum tissue near the tooth is swollen, sensitive, or pimpled
- Heightened or prolonged hot or cold sensitivity
- Nerve damage and other side effects
When a tooth’s nerve or pulp is damaged, bacteria can form in the, causing infection. Signs of infection include:
- Bone loss around the root
- Swelling of your face
- Drainage into your gums
Is a Root Canal Safe?
A tooth’s nerve function is to provide sensory responses to hot and cold temperatures. Damage to the nerve can come from decay, large fillings, cracks, and chips in your tooth, or even trauma to your face. The removal of the nerve does not affect the primary functions of the tooth.
The Root Canal Procedure
Root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful. However, today’s dental technology has made the process as pain-free as possible. In fact, most patients report that the process is no more painful than receiving a filling.
A root canal may require one or more office visits and can be performed by a dentist or. An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries of dental pulp or the nerve of the tooth.
The first step of the procedure is to take an X-ray to examine the shape of your root canal. This will help us determine if there are any signs of infection in a surrounding bone.
Next, our root canal therapy dentist will anesthetize the area around the tooth. Similar to a filling, we will drill a hole into the affected tooth. Then, we will remove the infected pulp and nerve tissue. We use a series of files to clean out any remaining debris along the root canal of the tooth.
Once we have thoroughly cleaned the tooth, we seal it. Depending on the health of the remaining tooth structure, it may be necessary to wait for any remaining infected tissue to heal before the tooth can be sealed. If we cannot fill the root canal on the day of the procedure, then we will place a temporary filling to protect the tooth from food, saliva, and bacteria.
Due to the extent of the damage or decay to your tooth, it may be necessary to place a crown over the tooth if it cannot be saved. Our expert root canal dentists will discuss your need for any additional dental work.
After the Root Canal Procedure
Your tooth may feel sensitive for the next several days after your root canal, especially if your tooth was infected. Typically, any pain resulting from the root canal can be controlled with ordinary over-the-counter medications.
Complications from root canals can arise. These are generally due to a re-infection or contamination of the tooth due to additional cracking or a breakdown of the inner sealant. To minimize your risk for complications, be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily.