Do I Need My Tooth Extracted? Emergency Root Canals in Tucson
Significantly damaged teeth or teeth overtaken by severe infection will sometimes need to be extracted. This is the absolute last resort. Teeth in poor condition can often be salvaged with a root canal, providing immediate relief without the need for a dental implant.
Getting a root canal is often made out to the be worst thing in the world. In truth, it is the most relieving thing you can do when you’re experiencing severe tooth pain. A routine root canal procedure shouldn’t cause any pain, and you’ll be immediately thankful that you did it.
First Dental is a Tucson Dentist that provides root canals to patients who need them. If you’re dealing with severe tooth pain in Midvale Park, Drexel Heights, or Valencia West, First Dental is only a phone call away. Root canals provide much needed pain relief while restoring the health of your damaged teeth. Despite the reputation of the procedure, there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of.
Are You Experiencing Tooth Pain?
While the exterior portion of your tooth is hard, the interior portion is not. Your enamel surrounds the soft part of your tooth, called the pulp. The pulp of your tooth includes all of the soft tissues, including your nerves. When an infection spreads due to enamel erosion, cavities, or broken teeth that leave the pulp exposed, this infection can reach the pulp of the tooth.
The pain is very distinct. Most patients are quick to realize that something is wrong. The sensitive nerves inside of your teeth were never meant to come into contact with food, drinks, or air. When they do, it can send a stinging sensation throughout your entire face.
While the pain can be overwhelming, it’s only one reason why infected teeth need immediate treatment. If the infection is left unchecked, it can have devastating consequences to your health. Infection can spread throughout your gums, to your jawbone, and through your bloodstream. The best course of action is to immediately contend with the issue at the source.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure that removes infection from the inside of a tooth and the tooth’s roots. The tooth is refilled with a rubberlike compound and a crown is fitted over the top to make it look normal again. Since a root canal cures and restores the tooth, there’s no need for extraction, dental implants, or a dental bridge.
In the simplest possible terms, a root canal is an extreme dental filling. Many of the steps are the same. The procedure is simply a more thorough and intense version due to the extent of an infection requiring a root canal.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
Before your root canal, your dentist may want to look at recent dental x-rays or take new ones. These x-rays, in conjunction with visible inspection of the tooth, will help you dentist begin the procedure with a well defined plan.
The area surrounding the tooth is injected with a numbing solution. The needle is small and the “pinch” sensation is comparable to a flu shot. The numbing medication begins to work right away. In a few moments, you’ll notice the pain from the infected tooth will begin to subside. While the numbing is kicking in, your dentist will use a small piece of rubber sheet to isolate the tooth receiving the root canal. Then the procedure begins.
During a root canal, your dentist will drill a small opening into the top of the infected tooth. This is done the same way drilling is done for a cavity filling. With the opening drilled, your dentist will be able to access your infected tooth pulp.
The infected pulp is removed from the tooth through this opening. In many cases, the nerves in the roots of the tooth will also be removed. Removing the nerve from the roots of the tooth can clear infection that has made its way to the roots or prevent the spread of infection from the tooth to other areas of your mouth.
Removing the nerve tissue from the roots from your tooth is harmless. The nerve tissue in the roots is only necessary for teeth that are growing in, and for the perception of hot and cold sensations. Many people find that removing the nerve tissue provides them with relief from sensitivity in addition to relief from infection.
The area is cleaned and hollowed with special drills that will remove any remaining traces of infection, and the tooth is treated with a special solution to eliminate bacteria and prevent infection from recurring.
Removing the infected pulp leaves the tooth hollow inside. The tooth is refilled with a soft, lightweight substance similar to rubber. This helps the tooth to feel sturdy and stable. A temporary filling is used to close the opening of the tooth. In some cases, a permanent filling can be immediately placed.
In rare cases, your dentist may recommend foregoing a temporary filling in favor of allowing the area to drain for an additional day. This is only necessary in cases of extreme infection, and it won’t apply to most patients.
A few days later, you’ll come back for the second part of the procedure. The second part of the procedure addresses the remnants of the tooth. Once you’ve recovered from the root canal, the tooth needs to be covered and restored. The exterior of the tooth will be covered with a dental crown designed to look exactly like the surrounding teeth.
The end result is a tooth free from infection that appears natural. No one would ever know you had a root canal. The crown will look and function exactly like a normal tooth. You’ll be sent home with a prescription for antibiotics to assure the infection is properly managed.
Are Root Canals Painful?
A root canal, like any procedure, has the potential to be painful. First Dental provides patients with medications to ease their anxiety and their pain. The area surrounding the infected tooth is completely numbed before the procedure begins. While you may feel that your dentist is working in your mouth, you’ll feel it in the form of pressure, vibrations, or tapping.
A root canal hurts much less than the pain you experience from a broken tooth. In fact, the medications and numbing injections provided by your dentist will significantly reduce the pain you felt when you first walked in. The infection is far worse than the procedure. A root canal provides relief – not more pain.
Many patients report that the experience of a root canal isn’t remarkably different from the experience of a filling. The two procedures do have a significant number of similarities. If you can handle a filling, a root canal isn’t anything to worry yourself over.
Are There Any Risks with Root Canals?
About 95% of root canal procedures are successful the first go around. Advances in dental technology have made root canals a relatively routine procedure, and they’re often utilized more than extractions due to their remarkable success rate.
Complications only occur in roots that remain uncleaned or roots with small cracks that have not been removed. Removing all the tissue from the roots assures that no infection is left behind. If antibiotics are ineffective at clearing up the infection, the tooth may need to be retreated and antibiotics may need to be changed or increased.
Can All Teeth Be Saved with Root Canals?
Most teeth can be saved with root canals, but it isn’t always possible. If you catch the infection in its earlier stages, your tooth can almost always be treated with a root canal. If it can’t, extraction can be used as an absolute last resort. If most of the tooth is already missing or the remaining tooth is so brittle that it cannot withstand a drill, alternatives to a root canal will be considered.
Extractions are never the preferred method for treating a dental infection. Multiple extractions can change the anatomy of the face, causing muscles to sag. It’s difficult to eat or speak with missing teeth. Extraction will require another procedure to install a bridge or a dental implant to replace the tooth. Bridges cause trauma to the surrounding teeth, and dental implants cause trauma to the jaw bone.
At First Dental, our goal is always to solve the problem. We would never want to put a patient through unnecessary procedures and lengthy recovery processes when an issue can easily be avoided. From a pragmatic standpoint, root canals also happen to be less expensive than other methods of extraction and repair. They’re easier to fit into the average Tucson family’s budget, making them the most effective solution from many standpoints.
Why Should I Get a Root Canal Instead of a Dental Implant?
Dental implants are an excellent option for people who are missing teeth, but the goal is to never lose your teeth. A root canal will allow you to preserve some of your original tooth and improve its appearance with a perfectly designed crown.
A dental implant when a root canal would suffice will cause unnecessary trauma. Pulling a salvageable tooth, drilling into the jawbone, and creating a permanent crown to act in place of your tooth is an extreme reaction to a dental infection. It’s also a lot more expensive and extensive. You’ll spend a lot more time and money choosing to remove a tooth that can be treated and restored.
Recovery After a Root Canal
The recovery process following a root canal only takes a few days. Some swelling and minor discomfort are common. You shouldn’t attempt to chew food until the numbness wears off. Resume eating with soft, room temperature foods until you’ve fully recovered.
Your dentist will send you home with full discharge instructions. It’s as simple as following the directions as they’re written on the sheet. Don’t forget to take the antibiotics you’re prescribed exactly as instructed. These will destroy any remaining bacteria that can contribute to infection, preventing the need for a re-treatment of your tooth.
Most people find that the recovery from a root canal is much less painful than an infection of the tooth pulp. Even though they’ve had a dental procedure performed, they still feel better than they did to begin with.
How Do I Avoid a Root Canal?
If your tooth has reached the point where a root canal is necessary, there is no turning back. If you want to spare yourself the pain of another tooth infection, it’s time to re-evaluate your dental hygiene habits. Flossing once a day and brushing twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste will help to remove decay causing bacteria from your mouth and restore your enamel.
Make sure you’re brushing for the full two minutes each session. Gentle and deliberate strokes with your toothbrush will help to gently remove plaque buildup from the surface of each tooth. Avoid hard bristled brushes and firm motions, and this may damage your enamel.
The most important thing to remember is to book dental checkups twice a year. Even if you feel fine, you could be missing the early stages of tooth decay. If caught on time, professional cleanings and treatments can reverse or prevent extensive damage. Early intervention can eliminate the need for a root canal. Don’t wait until you’re in pain to make an appointment.
Do You Need Rapid Relief?
Many people come to the dentist with a sneaking suspicion that they need a root canal. The pain of an infected tooth is very noticeable, and they want that pain to stop. For some reason, patients developed the idea that a root canal was a painful and risky procedure. Modern root canals don’t differ much from dental fillings, and patients experience relief almost immediately.
At First Dental in Tucson, we provide patients in Valencia West, Drexel Heights, and Midvale Park with relief from tooth pain. A root canal isn’t something to fear – it’s a solution to run towards. Call us the moment you start experiencing pain in your tooth. The faster you act, the easier the procedure and recovery will be.