Endodontics - Root Canal Treatment in Everett, Washington
A root canal is the part of your tooth which connects the central pulp tissue to your blood vessels and nerves.
The canals run down each root of your tooth. When the pulpal tissue becomes infected, you may need root canal treatment to prevent further infection and save the tooth.
Keep reading to learn what’s involved with root canal treatment at Perfect Smiles Dentistry in Everett, Washington.
When is a root canal treatment necessary?
Our teeth are under constant attack from acids and bacteria. If we don’t keep them clean enough, cavities can develop on the surface of the tooth, called enamel.
When caught early, your dentist can remove the cavity and apply a simple filling. But when decay spreads deeper inside the tooth, to the inner pulp tissue, a regular filling may not be sufficient.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to remove the pulp tissue, which spreads down the tooth root through the root canal. The tiny channels are then filled and sealed to preserve the tooth. This process is known as root canal treatment.
How does a root canal differ from a regular tooth filling?
The procedure is sometimes called a ‘root filling’, which can be confusing. Although the concept is the same as a regular filling – remove the damaged tissue and restore the tooth with a filling – the process itself is much more complex.
The root canals are very narrow and a single tooth may have 2, 3 or even 4 roots. The dentist has to meticulously remove the infected tissue, then shape and fill the canals so the inside of the tooth is completely sterile. After this, a crown may need to be applied to strengthen the tooth.
All in all, it may take several hours to treat a tooth with infected pulp. In contrast, a simple filling usually takes less than half an hour to complete.
What are the signs of inflamed or infected pulp?
Initially, the signs of pulp infection include toothache, sensitivity to hot and cold, and pain when biting down. If left untreated, the infection can spread down the tooth and develop into an abscess. Then, you might notice swelling in your face or gums, severe pain, and even pus oozing from the area.
Having regular dental checkups will allow our dentists to pick up on any problems before they reach this stage. However, if you think you have signs of infected pulp then you should book a visit as soon as possible to have the tooth checked out. Don’t wait until it becomes even more serious.
Why do dentists recommend root canal treatments instead of extractions?
Dr. Gowda and her team see extraction as a last resort. It goes without saying that removing a tooth is non-reversible, and the patient will need to look at tooth replacement options such as dentures, bridges or dental implants. These each have their own pros and cons, but none is as good as leaving the natural tooth root in place.
Therefore, in cases where there is enough healthy tooth structure to save the tooth, root canal treatment is preferable to extraction. Only when all other restorative options have been exhausted will we recommend removing a damaged tooth.
Root canal procedure step-by-step
Many people dread the idea of root canal treatment. After all, it’s not how you’d choose to spend an hour or two of your life.
Our team of skilled dentists are careful to ensure that your mouth is properly anesthetized so you won’t experience any pain during the procedure. You might just feel a bit uncomfortable from sitting still with your mouth wide open for so long. It’s important to remember that a couple of hours of discomfort is far better than having to get a tooth extraction and then think about replacing your tooth.
Here’s what to expect when you come to Perfect Smiles Dentistry for root canal treatment:
The first step is simply to visit for a checkup, where your dentist will examine your teeth and confirm whether you do indeed need root canal work. We might take an x-ray to show how far the day has spread, and whether you have any abscesses.
Opening the tooth:
When it comes to the treatment itself, the dentist will first open the tooth by drilling a hole in the enamel.
Cleaning and shaping:
Once they have access to the inside of the tooth, they can remove all the decayed tissue and clean the inside of the tooth. If there was an abscess at the base of the root, it will be drained at this point. Dentists use special files to clean the inside of each canal and to shape the roots ready to place the filling material.
After preparing the tooth, it’s time to fill the root canals and then the inner part of the tooth. The filling material has to be packed in firmly to ensure no spaces remain inside.
If a tooth had a lot of decayed material to remove and has been weakened by the procedure, it’s usually necessary to place a crown. This cover is made from porcelain or metal and completely covers the tooth to strengthen it and prevent fracturing.
Is a root canal treatment painful?
Your dentist will administer an anesthetic to ensure you don’t feel any pain during root canal treatment. Some patients find that their jaw begins to ache during lengthy procedures, or they get uncomfortable being unable to move for so long.
If you are undergoing complex treatment, you may agree with your dentist that you will raise your hand if you need to take a break.
How long does a root canal treatment take?
The length of the treatment will vary based on the complexity of the procedure. A root canal generally lasts 30 to 60 minutes, but a more complex case may take up to two hours. The length of this treatment can also vary depending on anatomical factors, such as the number of roots and their shape.
What to expect after the treatment?
Although a root filling shouldn’t be painful, the tooth might feel a little sore for a day or two afterwards. Over-the-counter painkillers will help relieve any pain or sensitivity, and it might help to stick to soft foods until the tooth feels back to normal.
Be prepared to give yourself some downtime after your treatment, if possible, in case you do feel a little under the weather.
Do you need root canal treatment in Everett, Washington?
If you’re suffering from toothache or have been told you need a root canal, don’t hesitate to book an appointment at Perfect Smiles Dentistry. Dr. Gowda and her team will make your experience as comfortable as possible, and you’ll feel great relief when your tooth is properly restored.