Root Canals An Overview
A root canal has a bad reputation for being a painful and unpleasant experience. But the truth is, a root canal is no more painful or involved than having a dental filling placed. The pain associated with a root canal comes from the infection in the tooth that causes inflammation and pressure. The root canal procedure often provides immediate relief for the patient once the infection is removed from the tooth.
Perhaps the greatest benefit to the root canal procedure is that you are able to retain your natural tooth rather than have it removed. An infected tooth should be treated as soon as possible though to avoid the need for a tooth extraction.
Dr. Gauthier performs root canal procedures in the comfort of his Northborough, MA dental office. Patients are made to feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible before, during and after treatment.
The Structure of a Tooth
The term “root canal” actually refers to the natural cavity at the center of the tooth. The tooth’s nerve is located inside the root canal, surrounded by soft tissue called pulp. If the tooth is damaged or has decay, bacteria and debris can enter into the root canal area and cause an infection.
Root Canal Symptoms
How do you know if you need a root canal? Some patients do not experience any symptoms that would indicate the need for a root canal procedure. Other patients, however, may experience painful symptoms including:
- Severe toothache or tooth pain, particularly when chewing or biting
- Prolonged tooth sensitivity, especially to hot or cold foods and drinks
- Discoloration of the tooth (darkening)
- Soreness or tenderness to the gums surrounding the affected tooth
"AWESOME EXPEIRENCE. Tina was extremely thorough and professional. Always nice to see Doc Gauth Amy greets you with a smile and Donna always says hi. Iwould like to make a request. Change the employee name tags so you can read…James C.
"Ultimate high-tech skills: perfect crowns made to order, on premises, in less than hour and a half! Painless and perfect fit."Dan P.
"Professional and friendly service. I would recommend this Dental group to my friends a family. Also they are very flexible around scheduling and have late day appointments a couple times a week and even scheduled appointments on Saturday to accommodate…Derrick P.
"Going to Apex for the first time, was quite good. I am a nervous patient when it comes to going to the dentist, but Tina was fabulous, gentle and such a nice person. The thorough exam they did was impressive.…Judith S.
Root Canals What to Expect
The root canal procedure may take anywhere from one to three visits, depending on your condition. First, Dr. Gauthier will take diagnostic x-rays to evaluate the tooth and root canal. An anesthetic may be administered to help the patient relax and relieve discomfort.
A small hole will be made to allow access to the inside of the tooth. The infected tissue and damaged nerve will be removed using specialized tools. The root canal will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to avoid future infection. If an infection is found, antibiotics may be prescribed and the tooth will be temporarily sealed until the infection has healed.
Once the infection is clear and the root canal is free of debris, the interior of the tooth will be filled with a biocompatible material called gutta percha that will serve to maintain the structural integrity of the tooth. The tooth will then be sealed.
Next, Dr. Gauthier will cover the tooth with either a dental filling or dental crown to protect the root canal from future damage and add strength to the tooth. He uses CEREC technology to place the dental crown in just a single visit. The crown will be custom fit and color matched to blend in naturally with the rest of your smile.
If you or a member of your family are experiencing discomfort please call (508) 506-1691 or schedule an appointment online.