A root canal is a natural cavity within the center of the tooth that has a soft pulp chamber in which houses your tooth’s nerve.
Our Grand Rapids dentists perform root canal or ‘endodontic’ procedures to save teeth that are badly decayed by removing the pulp and nerves and then 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 and you should seek immediate medical attention from our experienced root canal dentists at Lake Michigan Dental.
What Are the Signs That a Root Canal Is Needed?
- The tooth color darkens
- Severe toothache pain when chewing
- Gum tissue near the tooth is swollen, sensitive or pimpled
- Heightened and prolonged hot or cold sensitivity
- Nerve Damage and Side Effects
Damage to the nerve and pulp can come from decay, large fillings, cracks, and chips in a tooth or even trauma to your face. A tooth’s nerve function is to provide sensory responses to hot and cold temperatures. The removal of the nerve does not affect the primary functions of the tooth. When a tooth’s nerve or pulp is damaged, bacteria can form in the root canal causing infection identified by various symptoms.
- Bone loss around the root
- Swelling of your face
- Drainage into your gums
The Root Canal Procedure
Root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful. Actually, most people 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 endodontic. An endodontic is a dentist who specializes in the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries of the human dental pulp or the nerve of the tooth. The first step in the procedure is to take an X-ray to examine the shape of your root canal and 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 receiving a filling, a hole will be drilled into the affected tooth. The infected pulp and nerve tissue is removed from the tooth. A series of files are used to clean out any remaining debris along the root canal of the tooth. Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it is sealed. 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 the root canal cannot be filled on the day of the procedure then a temporary filling will be placed to protect the tooth from food, saliva, and bacteria.
Due to the extent of damage or decay to your tooth, it may be necessary to place a crown over the tooth if it cannot be saved. Our expert dental professionals will discuss the need for any additional dental work with you.
After the Root Canal Procedure
Your tooth may feel sensitive for the first 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 and are generally due to a re-infection or contamination to the tooth due to additional cracking or a breakdown of the inner sealant. It is important to maintain regular brushing and flossing of your teeth.
If you are experiencing any of the common signs caused by root canal damage and want to learn more about our root canal therapy services, please contact Lake Michigan Dental to schedule an examination or call our Grand Rapids dental office at (616) 453.8211.