and Root Canals
Patients may find themselves in need of more specialized dental services if they develop oral diseases, such as gum disease, abscesses or advanced decay. Our dentists also treat gum disease and provide root canal therapy to help save teeth that are compromised by advanced decay or infection. These targeted treatments do tend to be more involved, so it’s important to talk to your dentist so that you know what to expect.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation floating around about some of these procedures – especially root canals – so you should be sure that you have the correct details when preparing for these treatments. This will help you to manage your expectations. After treatment, patients typically report that they were expecting a much more unpleasant experience than they ultimately have.
Here are some of the questions that our dentists hear most frequently about our additional services.
Gum disease occurs when bacteria cause inflammation in the gum tissue, which leads to symptoms like bleeding, swelling or redness in the gums. Those symptoms mark the mildest form of the progressive condition, gum disease. The more advanced stages of periodontitis can result in more serious consequences such as gum recession and even tooth and bone loss. If you receive treatment for gingivitis, the intervention – a deep professional cleaning – is much less invasive than one for periodontitis, which may require either root scaling and planing or gum grafting, depending on the severity of the condition. If tooth loss occurs, patients may need to pursue dental implant placement or some other tooth replacement treatment.
Gum disease is caused by oral bacteria, so taking steps to reduce the bacteria (and the quantity of plaque and tartar that contain them) can limit your risk of developing gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session, and be sure to give your gumline adequate attention. Angle your toothbrush to 45 degrees along the gumline to make sure that you’re cleaning the area effectively.
Flossing is also an important weapon in the battle against gum disease. This action helps to remove plaque between the teeth and along the gumline. Receiving regular professional dental cleanings is another important tool in your efforts to avoid gum disease. Monitoring your gums for symptoms of gum disease can also be helpful so that you can get treatment as early as possible if those symptoms emerge.
A root canal is a procedure that removes infected pulp material from the root canal chambers in the tooth’s core. After numbing the area with a local anesthetic, the dentist will drill a small hole in the tooth in order to access and remove the pulp. When the root canal chamber has been emptied, it is thoroughly cleaned to remove any lingering bacteria. Then, the empty chamber is filled with a rubber-like substance called gutta percha in order to prevent the bacteria from repopulating the space. Teeth that are treated with a root canal are more susceptible to breakage, so the tooth will often be fitted with a crown after the root canal is complete for additional protection.
Unfortunately, root canals have a negative (and inaccurate) reputation as being very painful. In reality, a root canal is no more uncomfortable than getting a cavity filled, according to most patients. In fact, because this procedure is usually employed to address a condition that is causing discomfort for patients, undergoing a root canal typically results in relief from pain.
Patients may experience some mild discomfort in the area of the treated tooth for a few days after the procedure. This symptom can typically be addressed with over-the-counter painkillers. If you experience severe or persistent pain for several days after your appointment, you should call our office to be evaluated for any other issues or complications in your healing process.
Due to the increased risk of breakage following a root canal, you also should avoid chewing with the treated tooth until the dentist is able to place the crown on it.
The cost of a root canal will vary from patient to patient depending on the complexity of the procedure and the time involved. Associated services, such as x-rays, can also influence the overall cost of the treatment. You may have some insurance coverage for the procedure to reduce your out-of-pocket expense.
We understand that dental fear and anxiety can often prevent patients from seeking the dental treatments they need. Therefore, we offer sedation with nitrous oxide to help patients relax for their appointment.